Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ECMOA: Special Snow Day Edition 12-17-08

Happy Snow Day! I live in Vancouver, Washington which is sometimes considered as part of the Portland-Metro area. Something that I’ve learned in my seven years of residence in this fair city is that a tiny bit of snow makes the entire region shut down. I grew up where we got snow every winter, usually around a couple of feet or so. Sometimes we got more (6 feet was the record in my lifetime); sometimes we didn’t get snow at all. However, snow didn’t paralyze the entire community. People know how to drive in the snow in my hometown. Very few people know how to drive in the snow around here. Long story short, we’ve had a dusting of snow. Seriously, I can still count individual snow flakes lying on the ground. And school has been canceled. Full disclosure, I live in Vancouver, and Vancouver School District is open today. I’m sure that the upper elevations in Battle Ground where I work has some decent snow. I’m currently watching news reports of “Arctic Blast 08.” My cat, Baxter, LOVES these kinds of days because he likes to attack the ticker running along the bottom of the screen. He’s a giant cat, so he has not problem standing up on his hind legs to bat at the screen with both paws. He has worn himself out and is sleeping next to me on the couch.

I’m actually kind of glad. I brought home some work to do just incase we didn’t have school today. Plus while I generally like my students, two consecutive days of late start makes them exhausting and nearly unbearable. I have to remind myself that they don’t get snow very often, so it’s a big deal to them. Whenever we get snow around here, and the kids are confident that the two inches accumulated on the ground means that they will be sent home early (for the record, that has never happened in my 7 years in the district), it makes me have one of those “back in my day…” moments.

So, here is my own winter weather tale:

My sophomore year of high school, I had to walk to school because my dad was at an outage with the truck. My dad was branch manager for the White Salmon branch of Klickitat County PUD, so when the weather was nasty, he was usually at work coordinating the restoration of power to the outlying areas. We hadn’t heard of any closures, so I got ready to walk to school in about a foot of snow. The walk wasn’t that far, a little less than a mile and a half, and one that I had done since I was in the 5th grade. The walk to school took me up the road to the top of Strawberry Mountain (a very deceiving name—a hill at best), then down through an orchard to the school. I got all bundled up and headed out to school only to find the doors to the high school locked. I walked around to the front entrance which was open, and saw a sign that said “School is 2 Hours Late.” I decided to go ahead and walk the mile and half back home instead of sitting around at the cold school for two hours. After enjoying some hot chocolate, I trudged back to school. Another sign greeted me: “School is Canceled.” Crap. By the time I made my fourth trek through the orchard it had snowed another few inches. My mom just laughed at me when I got back home. She told me that she had heard on the radio that school had been canceled about 20 minutes after I left home the second time. I thought the whole thing was kind of funny as well, though I was disappointed that I didn’t get to sleep in on the snow day. I believe these kinds of experiences are filed under “Character Building.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ECMOA for the Month of November, 2008

November is the 4th best month to be a teacher. June, July, and August getting the top three spots, of course. Why is November so great? Lots of days off. Between Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Break, I get a random four days off from work. Plus it usually starts on the tail end of a week of half days for parent/teacher conferences. While we do get two weeks off for winter break, the chaos of dealing with amped up teenagers for the first two weeks of December counterbalances the joy of a two-week vacation.

It’s a short installment this month, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome. Enjoy!

Moment 1:
Two students were talking by my desk.
Student 1 (to several students): “Do you like spaghetti? Do you like spaghetti? Am I like the only person who doesn’t like spaghetti?”
Student 2: “Why not?”
Student 1: “Well, I choked on a noodle, just a plain noodle, when I was little.”
Havig: “Were you attacked by a pack of spaghetti as a small child?”
Student 1: “Yeah, spaghetti killed my father and raped my mother.”

The timing was hilarious.

Moment 2:
From a student’s paper regarding parental advice:
“My mother drives me insane. She likes really disgusting things, which is probably why she is a dental hygienist.”

The opening line from another student’s parental advice paper:
“You know nothing of granny squares!”

She later explained what granny squares were, but I still think it is one of the best first lines I have read. I am going to start using it as my “you’re an idiot!” phrase.

Moment 3:
“I’m sure your bladder will make friends some day.”
- student in response to my explanation that I have a very shy bladder, and thus do not like using the restroom when other people are in the restroom. It wasn’t just the comment, it was the really creepy way the student made the comment that made this awesome.

Moment 4:
A conversation with my freshmen about parents:
Student 1: “How old is your dad?”
Student 2: “He’s like 30.”
Student 1: “So he had you when he was 16?”
Student 2 (slightly perplexed): “No, my mom was like 20.”
Havig: “I think you mean that he’s in his 30s.”
Student 2: “Yeah, I didn’t mean he’s 30.”
Havig: “’Cause I’m going to be 30 in a few days, and I don’t feel like I’m old enough to be your parent.”
Student 2: “Yeah, I think you’re old enough.”
Much laughter from the class ensues, and I mock hurt from being called old. Another student explains to Student 2 why what she said was so funny.
Student 2: “Oh, I meant that you’re were old enough to have kids.”

Moment 5:
“Oh, crap! I just killed that hooker!”
- one small child’s parroting comment after watching some teenagers play Grand Theft Auto according to one of my third period kids.

Moment 6:
So, my third period class may have been discussing serial killers. Okay, I was telling them about a great moment in an episode of Criminal Minds where this guy (the un-sub) chops up his victims and puts pieces of them into the chili that he’s serving to the volunteers who are searching for the victims. How messed up is that!? There is this great line from this episode. A priest and one of the investigators is questioning the un-sub about one of the victims whose body has not been found. After way more searching on the World Wide Web than I’d like to admit, I found that the character’s name was Tracey Lambert. Anyway, they keep asking "Where is Tracey Lambert?" The un-sub goes on a tangent about God. The priest states, “God is inside all of us.” To which the un-sub replies, “So is Tracey Lambert.” Then a bunch of clips run showing the volunteers eating the chili con Tracey Lambert. Awesome! As I was telling them about this episode--which had everything to do with what we were discussing in class at the time, I swear--the following exchange occurred:

Havig: “So this serial killer was hacking up bodies, as serial killers sometimes do.”
Student: “Hacking, like (cough, cough)?

It took me a few minutes to regain my composure after that one. I guess from this day forward, I must differentiate between the hacking that serial killers do with knives and the hacking that my cats do to get rid of hairballs.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ECMOA for the Month of October, 2008 Part II

Here’s the second half of awesome moments from the month of October. By the way, if you are extra bored or have some time, you should check out my other blog, Stupid Baby Names and Other Things that Bug Me. You can find it at I have quite a few name rants in the works plus I’m reviewing the best and the worst of holiday songs.

I’m going to break them up by the classes as opposed to individual moments just for kicks.

From the freshmen:

One student had forgotten to write his or her name on a vocab quiz, so I took it around the classroom to find the owner.
Havig: “Does anyone want to claim this?”
Student: “There’s no name on it…oh.”

Student 1: “Ms. Havig, who do you think would make a better president, McCain or Obama?”
Havig: “Well, since I’m a teacher, I’m not really supposed to share my political views with my students.”
Student 2: “Did you say a llama or Obama?”
Student 1 (sarcastically): “Obama. Yeah, who would make a better president, McCain or a llama?”

Student: “How do you spell, climb-ed?”
Now this may be one of those kinds of things where you had to be there to really appreciate the humor in this situation. After this student asked for some spelling assistance via exaggerated enunciation, it became an on-going joke to over emphasize the ed ending to most words.

From the seniors:

A student had this as part of a journal entry.
“You calling the kettle black is what old people usually say, which is funny because the metaphor doesn’t really make any sense.”

And finally from the sophomores:

“This is where they all hate each other.”
- in reference to the characters in second section of Joy Luck Club

It think this next one is my personal favorite from this round. The students received progress reports awhile back, and one of my students’ progress report was printed with the watermark on the paper upside down. Basically, the school printed some of the progress reports with the paper going the wrong way. Ah…education.

There are more on tap for November, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ECMOA for the Month of October, 2008 Part I

Okay sports fans (that’s a colloquialism that I got from my dad), let’s be realistic. I am not very good at posting once a week like I used to be. I’m hoping for at least bi-weekly postings, but monthly postings may be what you get. To the four of you that actually read this blog, I thank you for your loyalty.

I’ve noticed that the majority of the moments these days are simply quotes from my students or conversations that I have overheard or have had with my students. I do miss the days of a particular student’s stories about how she broke her glasses or how she lost them (one apparently shouldn’t tape one’s glasses to one’s cat’s head). I’m realizing that the students who I had as freshmen when I first started the English Class Moments of Awesomeness are now seniors. How time flies.

On to the awesomeness!

Moment 1:
“Pale is the new tan.”
- one student to another student as they compared their tans, or lack there of

Moment 2:
“It’s like homework, you can only use it once.”
- student response to an assignment question regarding parental advice

Moment 3:
This was a side conversation that I had with one of my freshmen, and the seriousness of the question totally cracked me up.
Student: “Your tongue’s a muscle, right?”
Havig: “Yeah.”
Student: “So could you pull your tongue like if you really got into a piece of cheese cake?”
Havig: “I have no idea.”

Of course I spent the rest of the day craving some tasty cheese cake.

Moment 4:
If you don’t know me, let me summarize my personality for you as briefly as possible. Sarcasm is my personal dogma. I was also raised in a staunch Norwegian household where not only was crying an unacceptable form of communication, but expressing emotions of any sort was highly frowned upon. In fact, it was a sign of weakness. Needless to say, I’m not the teacher that students run to with their little teenage drama episodes. My fourth period class even had a conversation about my lack of touchy-feeliness. With that in mind, enjoy this next moment.

During a vocab quiz, a student made a bizarre sound like a cross between dry heaving and a hic-up. I looked in her direction looking between her and another student inquiring what the noise was and who made it.

Student 1: “I hic-uped.”
Student 2: “Don’t judge. We all hic-up.”
Havig: “Not like that.”
Student 2: “Oh, harsh.”
Student 1: “Way to be a supportive teacher.”
Havig (with a sigh): “We’ve gone over this.”

Moment 5:
My 4th period class was out of control on a Friday a few weeks ago after we had an assembly. They were all fired up and couldn’t really control themselves. After showing them my great annoyance with their behavior, they tried to convince me that they weren’t annoying, just really spirited. They were trying to claim that they made my day more interesting.
One student who I had as a freshman last year tried to make her point.

Student: “Remember how last year you would tell a joke, and no one laughed except for me?”
Havig (skeptically): “Right.”
Student: “Well, isn’t this much better? Everyone laughs at you. (awkward pause as she realizes what she said.) Not like that.”

Ahh, in the immortal words of Bill Cosby, kids say the darndest things.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ECMOA for the weeks of September 15-26

The Best of the Rest of last year:

There is one moment left over from last year, so here it is:

When the students get their yearbooks every spring, they obsess over them pretty much until the end of the school year. One student was adamant that people look at the picture of one student.

Student 1: “Okay, there’s a girl who growls in her pictures. She did it last year, and I was hoping she wouldn’t do it again, but apparently that’s her smile.”
Student 2 looking at picture: “She does look angry.”

Done with the old, on with the new…

There are a few moments from the new school year thus far. It takes awhile for the kids to get used to my warped sense of humor. The first few weeks are spent reassuring the students that I am not, indeed, out of my mind.

Moment 1:

My sophomore honors class read two novels over the summer, Ethan Frome and Gulliver’s Travels. The general idea of Ethan Frome is that the main character is in an unhappy marriage with a woman named Zeena when he falls in love with a young woman named Mattie who happens to live with them. Set in the early 1900s, Ethan and Mattie feel like they have few options. They decide to try kill themselves by sledding into a tree at the bottom of a large hill. The students researched marriage and held small group discussions about the novel. The following responses didn’t earn a lot of points for the groups who wrote them, but they still are kind of funny.

“If you didn’t love the person you’re married to, it sucks.”
- in response to: what have you learned from the reading, research and discussion?

“Today, people would’ve divorced Zeena by now.”

“They have better accuracy of committing suicide.”
- in response to: what alternatives do couples today have that Ethan did not have?

Moment 2:

Also from my sophomores:

“I’m going to get me some baby-skin boots.”
- student while reading “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift

If you haven't read "A Modest Proposal," I highly recommend it. Swift's mastery of satire is brilliant. Also, after you have read it, the Chili's babyback ribs jingle will never be the same. Trust me.

Moment 3:

The counselors moved 5 students out of my 3rd period into another teacher’s class because I had 10 more kids than she did. I talked to the 5 kids out in the hall toward the beginning of the period, and then they went down to the counselor’s office to get the paperwork. I was talking to the class about the day’s assignment when the 5 students came back, grabbed their stuff and left.

Student 1 inquiring about the student leaving: “Where are they going?”
Havig: “I’m having them killed.”
Student 2: “You said that with a straight face. That’s really scary.”

Of course these students don't even know the half of it. They haven't even seen my zombie preparedness fighting stance, and they haven't heard about the latch in my basement that keeps the zombies out of my house. They really have a lot to learn.

I hope you enjoyed this installment. I promise that I have more on the way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back to School ECMOA 2008


It is another new school year, and overall I’m not entirely hating the fact that summer is now over. The students started school the day after Labor Day, and ever since, I’ve been trying to learn 150 new names. It is always strange how at the beginning of the school year, the kids all kind of look the same. Most of the girls have long, straight hair in shades varying from blonde to dark blonde to light brown with blonde highlights to light brown without highlights to slightly darker brown…well, you get the picture. And for reasons still very unclear to me, the boys are still sporting the “I-need-a-haircut” haircut.

The students are starting to be less frightened by me, and they’re showing their personalities more and more each day. Sometimes it’s through well-rehearsed eye rolling. Sometimes it’s through laughing at my really bad jokes. Who knew literature could be so funny? Or maybe they're just laughing at my story about the time I got a black eye via the screen door handle while I was trying to grab my cat who was trying to go attack a raccoon 8 time his size.

We’re going to start on a note of not-so-awesomeness because, well, because what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t vent.

Back to School ECMON-S-A

So my computer doesn’t work. As in my school computer which I need to enter attendance, enter grades, email, create assignments, print, etc. does not work. I knew this before school started because like a sucker, I came in two weeks before school started to prepare for the start of school. Computer no worky. (That is a Havig familial colloquialism meaning something does not function properly, by the way.) No worries though. I put in a work order, and it should be fixed in no time. My tech-savvy co-worker even took a look at it and did all that stuff that I don’t know how to do, and she said the outlook was bleak. five weeks later, I’m still without a computer. I called IT during the first week of school and left a message. Shortly afterword, the IT people sent out an email to the entire district telling people not to call after they have submitted a work order. I’m sure lots people had requests and were checking on the status of their work orders, but I couldn’t help but feel like the email was directed at me. I’m also pretty sure that my work order was either “lost” or moved to the bottom of the pile.

Enough complaining on my part . On to the awesomeness ! ! !

These are from the end of the year last year, so we’ll consider the Back to School Best of May and June English Class Moments of Awesomeness.

Moment 1:
My honors kids were reading Joy Luck Club, and the class was discussing why the main character’s mother pushes her to succeed so much.
Student 1: “She does it out of love.”
Student 2: “What’s love got to do with it?”
It wasn’t until a few beats later that she realized what she said. Unfortunately, she declined requests to sing the rest of the Tina Turner song.

Moment 2:
Also during the Joy Luck Club unit, one student misread the title “Red Candle” on the board as “Red Candie.”
Student 1: “Red Candle…candy…candle…candy. I guess candy is spelled with a ‘y’ and not ‘ie.’
Student 2: “Candie with an id sounds like a hooker name.”
Student 1: “All artificial sweeteners are hooker names.”
Havig: “I don’t think I’ve ever met a hooker named Splenda. Have you, Student 1? Equal? Sweet & Low?”

Moment 3:
More Joy Luck Club goodness. For each of the families, there is a quiz that the students take. A student had come in to make up her quiz and was about to hand it to me while I was sitting at my desk. She saw a quiz key on my desk and started checking her answers.
Student 1 with growing look of horror: “Oh. Oh. OH.”
Havig: “That’s the wrong key.”
Student 1: “Thank goodness. I only got one right on the first side.”
Student 2: “What happened?”
Student 1: “I was looking at the Ha-su family on instead.” (The name is actually Hsu.)
Havig: “I like how you say the Chinese names like they’re Spanish.” (Earlier, she had pronounced Jong as “Hong.”)
Student 1: “Well, I don’t know Japa…” (She stopped herself realizing her mistake.)

Moment 4:
I don’t remember how this conversation started, so we’ll just go with it. I should point out that Student 2 is a boy, and the others are all girls. Once again this is my Honors English II class during 4th period.

Student 1: “Nancy Drew wasn’t around in 1903.”
Student 2: “Yes, it was. Nancy Drew is timeless.”
Student 3: “Have you ever even read Nancy Drew?”
Student 2: “No.”
Student 4: “What boy would read Nancy Drew?”
Havig: “It’s not like it’s a girly book. It’s not all flowers and ‘I’m so in love.’ It’s ‘I found a skull, and now I’m going to find out where it came from. That’s Nancy Drew. Well, that’s my Nancy Drew.”
Student 4: “Honestly, what high school girl goes around finding skulls?”
Student 5 tentatively raises her hand.

Moment 5:
Student 1: “I spell phonetically.”
Student 2: “As opposed to correctly?”

I have some more from last year, and this year’s batch of kiddos are already contributing there own moments of awesomeness. Stay tuned and have an awesome week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17, 2008

It's the last day of school! ! !

Thursday, June 5, 2008

ECMOA for the week(s) er…month of April 21- May 30.

It has been very busy the past few weeks with the end of the school year nearing and my lack of motivation to grade increasing with each passing day. There are only 12 days of school left, including two half days for student finals. The kids are getting very antsy as the promises of summer vacation near. I’ll break up that last month or so into a few installments. Here is the first:

Moment 1:
Some random quotes:

Student: “Is allyship a word?”
Havig: “No, but alliance is.”
Student: “Well, a lot of times when I make up words they end up being real words.”

Student teacher Lee conducted her master’s thesis research with my freshmen class. She explained what she had to do for her project to the students, including the 40 page paper. To this a student replied:
“Forty pages? Snap!”

“I love this song!”
- a senior’s response to the bagpipe introduction in Dead Poet’s Society.

Moment 2:
This is actually from quite awhile ago. The students wrote Poe Parody poems by selecting their own topic and imitating the format of Poe’s “The Raven.” The students usually come up with some great, original ideas, and I have them read their poems to the class. The following is a segment of a student reading her poem.

Student: “This doesn’t even rhyme.” (said while she is reading her own poem) “Well, it was ‘pee on the floor,’ but I changed it to ‘chowder,’ so it would rhyme better.”
Havig: “I’m going to read yours to the kids next year as an example.”
Student: “Really?”
Havig: “No.”

Moment 3:
Okay, another English teacher and I have this idea to create stamps of all of the phrases that we write over and over on student papers. We figured we could make more money doing that than teaching, and other English teachers would benefit as well. Some of the phrases that we believe would make excellent stamps include: “How does this connect to your thesis statement?” “Support your opinion.” “Huh?”

I was having a conversation with a student about these stamps, and we were talking about the stamps that teachers wish they could use.

He said: “I like the ‘You suck.’ stamp. It’s more demeaning.”

Moment 4:

While watching the film version of Julius Caesar:
“She’s (Calphurnia) way taller than him! (Caesar).” [Caesar stands up from a seated position.] “Oh.”

Moment 5:
It’s Romeo & Juliet time!

Due to lack of time, I’ve had to run through Romeo & Juliet with the kids this year. Usually there are quite a few R&J moments of awesomeness, but that’s just not the case this year. However, there is quite the gem from one of my freshmen. At the beginning of the play, Romeo is upset about a girl named Rosaline, so he spends his days holed up in his room with the curtains drawn making an “artificial night” while he spends his nights wandering around Verona crying like a small child. I asked the class why Romeo would be upset about Rosaline, to which a student replied, “She talked bad about him on MySpace.”

Moment 6:
Tomorrow is the last day for my 6th period seniors.

That’s it for now. I have more moments, but I also have a ton of grading to do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Invasion of the Post-it Notes ! ! !

These moments are from the past few months, and possibly years. I found a stash of post-it notes in, on, and around my desk. I’m including them in this special edition since I’ve been slacking a bit on regular posting the past few weeks.

Here you go. Enjoy!

Those familiar with the blog (or my class) know that I show a really cheesy version of The Pit and the Pendulum starring Vincent Price to my sophomores. Here are some student comments on the film:

“Let’s split up and look for clues, gang!”
-as the characters hear an odd noise coming from the dungeon area

“That’s why you bring a gun!”
- when Elizabeth (who is supposed to be dead) exits the casket

“And shut the door! Are you on crack?! Just for that, I hope he dies.”
- after Nicolas makes a really slow and poorly executed escape from Elizabeth’s corpse

Havig: “If I ever go crazy and start repeating a word over and over again, I want it to be a better word than ‘true.’” (which is what Nicolas repeats over and over as he runs away from Elizabeth’s corpse)
Student 1: “Yeah, like a long complicated word.”
Student 2: “Like parabola.”

“I’d try to fall asleep or something.”
- student on what he would do if he was tortured Pit & the Pendulum style

“A lot of people don’t know this, but he also invented the Care Bears.”
- student on the biography of Edgar Allan Poe

Here are some quotes from my freshmen last year:

“All kinds of ice cream are equal in my eyes.”
- student’s response on his favorite flavor of ice cream

“Otherwise it wouldn’t be called ‘notes.’ It would be called ‘read.’”
- student answering another student’s question of ‘do we have to write this down?”

The seniors even had a quote of their own:

Student 1: “I hate chap stick!”
Student 2: “I know. You always have dry and cracked lips.”

I hope you enjoyed this edition. Look back for a new posting sometime this weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2008

ECMOA for the week of April 14-18, 2008

We had Math and Science WASL testing all week, so that in itself is awesome because I get to proctor in my own room. This means that I get to work on stuff while the students are testing. The down side is that I’m the one who has to read pages and pages of instructions each morning. Speaking of reading instructions, the instructions are really corny, and you have to read example questions and answers without any background information about the question. One of the reading example extended response—or maybe it was short answer—was about goats, and it made me laugh because it was really, really random. Apparently, according to my first period class, I walk strangely when I’m reading aloud and walking backwards. They said I was skipping backwards. After I went out in the hall to walk backwards to see what they were talking about, I admit that I bounce a tad when I walk backwards. It is not skipping, however.

Anyway, on with the moments…

Moment 1:
The students have been assigned a research project on an author. The students drew author names out of a hat.

Student: “Can we switch authors?”
Lee: “Why would you do that? That’s lame.”
Student: “What if you have a lame author?”
Lee: “Maybe you’re lame, so you need a lame author.”

Moment 2:
English I read A Separate Peace and here are a few student responses to a question about whether or not girls would appreciate the novel as much as boys since there aren’t any female characters.

“I think boys appreciate (the novel) more because girls don’t jump off trees and try to kill each other.”

“I think girls can appreciate this story because they can see how stupid boys can be.”

Moment 3:
I don’t remember the situation, but one student was complaining that something was difficult, I believe.

Student 1: “Man up, Student 2. Man up.”
Student 2: “Maybe I want to be a sissy.”

Moment 4:
With the WASL testing, there was some flexibility regarding when we could let the students go to lunch.

Havig: “The sooner you are quiet, the sooner you can go to lunch.”
Student: “Everyone be quiet!”
Havig: “Wow, no one get between Student and her food.”

Moment 5:
The student from moment 4 was sitting in the front corner of the room during testing, so she was near me when I was reading the instructions. She was asking the student sitting behind her (Student 2) to get something off of the back of her shirt.

Student 2: “Hold still.”
Student 1: “Get it off!”
Havig to Student 1: “What are you doing?”
Student 1: “Student 2 is getting the hair off my back.”

Now she kind of announced this to the whole class, and I couldn’t help but laugh. To top it off, later that day, she drew a picture of the back hair removal process on her vocabulary quiz.

Moment 6:
The tragic news of the week is that I only have Student Teacher Lee for two more weeks. She mentioned something to the kids in 4th period about leaving soon. A student asked if Lee would give out her phone number. Before the student could even complete the request, Lee replied with “absolutely not.” Lee did say that she would give them her email that she never uses. Lee explained that her university supervisor recommended that the student teachers use a professional email address for their resume and correspondence with school districts while they engage in the great job hunt. They shouldn’t use a cutesy email. Lee said that she would give them the professional email address, though her regular email isn’t cutesy.

Havig: “Yes, it is cutesy.”
Lee:: “It’s lyrics from a song.”
Havig: “Still cutesy.”
Student: “What is it?”
Havig (trying to think of something cutesy): “Dancing bear…”
Lee (laughing): “That’s a strip club in Portland.”

Here are some random moments from when I was slacking on the whole posting aspect of this thing.

Moment 7:
“It’s all fun and games until someone gets pregnant.”
Student commenting on the part of the Cry, the Beloved Country movie when the main character meets his son’s pregnant girlfriend.

Moment 8:
“Pirates…the Irish…They’re the same.”
Student talking about the movie the history class next door was watching when I told him if was about Irish immigrants. He thought it sounded like a pirate movie.

Moment 9:
I don’t really remember the context, but it was not food.
Lee: “What were you going to bring?”
Student 1: “Oh, I was going to bring in…”
Student 2: “Pop Corn!”
Havig: “How’s left field, Student 2?”
Student 2 (confused): “Huh? I don’t play sports.”
Student 3: “That just made my day.”

I hope you enjoyed this week's installment.

Have a fantastic week!

Monday, April 14, 2008

ECMOA for the week of April 7-11, 2008

It’s always difficult to come back to work after Spring Break. What the students don’t realize is that Spring Break is really for the teachers. They give us a week off to help us maintain our sanity. Spring Break also helps keep the student mortality rate down. Hopefully everyone enjoyed their break. Of course if you have a “real” job, you don’t get a Spring Break. And I laugh at you.

Speaking of break, over the break I went to the coast, and I got the coolest bumper sticker. I has a Jolly Roger (skull and crossbones) background with the following quote: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” It now adorns my white board in the area dedicated to student drawings.

This week’s ECMOA is mostly quotes, and I hope you enjoy them. The initial ROY G BIV color order is in honor of my super cool magnet letters that are currently spelling out the month on my whiteboard. It just so happened that the letters that spelled out APRIL were in rainbow order. After that, the moments are just in colors that I like.

Moment 1:
“You’ve ruined reading for me. You made me an active reader.”
Student announcing that she no longer could read for fun without writing in her book and annotating passages.

Moment 2:
“M&Ms are the hotdogs of chocolate.”
Student Teacher Lee declining an offer of M&Ms.

Moment 3:
This one is actually from awhile ago, but I found the post it note with the quote on my desk blotter when I changed to the new month. It hails back from the King Arthur Unit.

“Yes, getting killed by Lancelot is like fighting Chuck Norris.”
Student responding to how all of the other knights want to die by Lancelot’s sword.

Moment 4:
The staff bathroom in my building is also the staffroom where the printer is located, and I took the stapler to the bathroom to staple some papers together. However, when I left the room, I just told Lee that I was going to the bathroom. Plus I returned without any papers because they had failed to print.

Lee: “Why did you take the stapler to the bathroom?”
Havig: “Why don’t you take the stapler to the bathroom?”
Lee: “I take the tape.”

Moment 5:
“I hate the first few days of school. All you do is walk down to the library and write essays about yourself.”

Moment 6:
While the majority of 5th period went down to the library to pick up copies of Julius Caesar, two students remained in the classroom with me. One student put on some lotion which started a conversation about the smell of the lotion.
Student 1 stated that she thought the lotion smelled like Christmas.
Student 2 said that the lotion smelled like her grandma.
Student 1’s reply: "It doesn’t smell like my grandma. She smells like wine…and cats.”

Moment 7:
“Well, I’m not going to college.”
English I student upon looking at his returned essay 2nd draft which I had corrected. He later decided that he still could go to college after he read the comments on the paper.

Moment 8:
“That’s really nice. He was very thoughtful.”
Student observation on Caesar having the throats slit of the pirates who kidnapped him in order to hasten their deaths. He did this because he admired them, and didn’t want them to suffer too much as they were crucified at his request.

Moment 9:
Lee: “Here is how Julius Caesar is broken down: Acts...”
Student (interrupting): “I thought he was knifed.”

Moment 10:
“I could hold my pee for extra credit.”
Student on why he doesn’t use his bathroom passes. Students get 6 passes and each unused pass is worth a few points at the end of the semester.

Moment 11:
Student 1: “I could do that.”
Student 2: “That’s my special homework, so back off!”
Student 2 was assigned the special homework of figuring out the exact middle of March (to the second) for the whole Ides of March thing.

That’s it for this week. Next week we have math and science WASL testing. Good times!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

ECMOA Spring Break 2008 Part 2

Special All Jell-O Edition

So, my students put my stapler in Jell-O. If you’re a die-hard fan of “The Office” like me—and like Student Teacher Lee and several of my students are—then you know about the ol’ stapler in the Jell-O ploy.

Two of my students in 4th period stealthily swiped the good stapler on Thursday. It mysteriously reappeared encased in red Jell-O the next day. Apparently, they got the idea because we talk about “The Office” a lot and Lee puts a daily quote from the show every day on the white board. They’ve been plotting for quite some time, and I have to say, I’m impressed.

Here's the Jell-O still in the bowl.

The consistency was not very good even though it had been in the fridge for days.

It kind of oozed all over the plater in a matter of minutes.
It was actually pretty gross.

A close-up of the poor stapler.

The two students who performed this task were kind enough to wrap the stapler in saran wrap, but it didn't protect the stapler from a coating of Jell-O.
For future reference, if anyone plans on stealing any staplers, remember that you don't need as much water for Jell-O molds. Otherwise they ooze all over the counter and make a big mess.

Also, I'm adding "scooping cold, non-solidified Jell-O into the trash with my bare hand" to my list of Some of the Grossest Things that I've Ever Done. It's right up there with sorting boxes of moldy pears.
In a Jell-O related story...
One of my students in 4th period is deathly afraid of Jell-O. She freaks out when it is anywhere near her. Sometimes I bring a little snack-sized cup of Jell-O with my lunch, and if I don’t eat it I put it on my desk or in the fridge in my room. When her desk was kind of near mine, she would wait until I put the Jell-O away before she could sit down at her desk. Needless to say, when there was a giant bowl of not-quite-solidified Jell-O sitting on the stable at the front of the room, she had a little moment of hysteria. I asked her why she was so deeply terrified of Jell-O. She has a pretty legitimate reason for not being a Jell-O fan. The next part is not for the squeamish.

When she was in 3rd grade, she was at a friend’s birthday party, and they had a Jell-O eating contest. Approximately 15-20 girls each had their own large bowl of Jell-O to scarf down in a minimal amount of time. There were all sorts of different flavors/colors. Now each girl finished the Jell-O. And each girl eventually threw up her respective flavor/color of Jell-O. It’s a good thing that they were outside. However, the vision of multicolored piles of Jell-O puke haunts my student to this day. And, honestly, who can blame her. Me being my twisted self thinks that’s an awesome story, but I have to wonder, who on earth thought that serving puke prone (as all kids seem to be) 3rd graders copious amounts of Jell-O was a good idea?
Do you have a Jell-O story? Please share in the comments.

ECMOA Spring Break 2008

If all goes well, there should be two special Spring Break Editions of ECMOA. Here’s the first.

As noted in last week’s ECMOA, my student teacher, Ms. Lee, gathered 11 “words” from various student homework assignments. The sophomores were to come up with their own definitions for the words, and overall, the students were very creative. Here is your chance to come up with some definitions and post them in the comments. This has a very Washington Post-y feel to it with a touch of student mockery. Next week, Lee and I will judge the student responses, and I will post the best ones from each class.

Here are the words:

1. desitions
2. eggageratting
3. discripimantion
4. merimior
5. influneal
6. aborigrncules
7. emboys
8. dillusans
9. rasse
10. juliaus
11. widdling

Post your own definitions in the comments section.

Friday, March 28, 2008

ECMOA for the week of March 24-28, 2008

It's what you've all been waiting for. . . a brand new, extra shiny edition of English Class Moments of Awesomeness. Enjoy!

Okay, it snowed today. On the Friday before Spring Break we had snow. As if the students weren’t already hyper and unfocused. Plus our administration insists on waiting to do our required monthly fire drill at the last possible moment, we are scheduled to have a fire drill today. In the snow. Ah, enough complaining, it’s almost Spring Break!

By the way, I'm experimenting with color. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Honors English II

Moment 1:
The students had an assignment where they selected a quote from the novel the read, draw a picture to go with the quote and write a rationale of why they thought the quote was important. A conversation arose about corn.

Student 1: “Corn doesn’t grow on trees, Student 2!”
Student 3: “Student 4 (a student with a lot of artistic ability) draw a corn stalk, so Student 1 can see what it looks like.”
Student 5: “Haven’t you ever been to a corn maze?”
Student 1: “Yes, but I don’t pay attention to what it looks like.”

Moment 2:
Ms. Lee (my student teacher) explained to the students that she was grading on effort, not artistic skill, and she emphasized her point by drawing a horse on the white board. It was a very “interesting” horse. It had horseshoes which she later turned into ice skates. Then she drew an iced over pond.

Later in the day, one of my TAs commented on the drawing.
TA: “I think it looks nice.”
Lee: “TA’s getting an A.”
Havig: “TA’s a T.A.” (TAs are graded Pass/Fail)
Lee: “TA’s getting a P.”

Moment 3:
Student 1: “Sitting for 24 hours a day is not good for you.”
Lee: “So it’s good that you have 5 minutes to wander around.” (Refering to the 5 minute passing period between classes.”
Student 1: “We’re all going to be fat.”

Moment 4:
Student 1: “I like that saying, ‘vengeance will be had.’”
Student 2: (looking around the room) “Where does it say that?”
Student 1: “Nowhere. In my mind.”

Moment 5:
“If I could read, then that might be cool.”
Student in response to Lee’s suggestion for him to wallpaper his room with the torn out pages of his destroyed copy of House Made of Dawn.

Moment 6:
“This is what I’m going to learn today.”
Student after Lee used a marker to erase the non-erasing dry erase marker off of the white board.

Moment 7:
Some kids had a question about Hitler, and Lee asked what I thought. She relayed my answer to the group of kids.

Lee: “Well Hitler is blah blah blah…”
Havig: “There is not ‘Hitler is’ anything because Hitler is dead.”
Lee: “But he lives in my heart.”
This statement earned Lee two more crazy points. I will explain that at another time.

Moment 8:
Over the course of the semester, Lee has been collecting a list of creatively spelled words from student assignments. Today, we had the students create definitions for the words. One student was complaining about the task.

“Can we move Complaining Student to isolation because he’s sucking the fun out of it?”

The class then voted to move him.

Check back later for more vintage ECMOA.

In fact, stay tuned for a Jell-O themed edition of ECMOA…coming soon

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ECMOA for the Week of May 15-19

The following events are in a particular order...not.
(That's my little salute to phrases of the 90s.)

My sophomore classes are reading Arthurian legends, so we watched one of the best renditions of an Arthurian legend. Okay, it's totally incorrect and all that, but how can I pass up the opportunity to show Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail in class? It's one of most awesome movies ever made!


Some kids from my Creative Writing class were discussing the series finale to That 70s Show. (Which I don't watch, so I don't know who the characters are.) One student was expressing his disappointment at not knowing if two of the characters were getting back together or not.

Student 1: "They just ended it with them making out!"
Student 2: "They're together. That's what making out means."

Ah, the innocence of youth.

More R&J action from English I. There is a part in the play where one character refers to another characters shoes as "pinked" as in there were little flower-like decorations embedded in the shoes.

"I'm going to start using that. I just pinked my ride."

Still more R&J action from English I. We were discussing how much someone's name has to do with who they are. My 5th period class was having a great discussion about types of names. One student ventured hesitantly to mention that on television and in movies often the "slutty" girls had names that ended in y or ie. By the way this student's name also ends in y. Another student (with en ie ending name) proclaimed, "you just called me a slut!" The first student replied, "well I just called myself a slut too." Good times.

Word to your mothers. (Don’t worry, it’s just a phase. It will pass soon.)

Check back tomorrow for brand new moments. . .

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for May 8-12, 2006

As in the past, these appear in no particular order.

This is an all English I edition of ECMOA. Enjoy!

And remember, new moments are coming soon. . .

It's Romeo & Juliet time! Sharing Shakespeare's plays with the Froshies is definitely a high point of the job. Especially when the class treads the dangerous waters where I pray that the students don't pick up on the really inappropriate and dirty jokes that good ol' Billy has sprinkled throughout his works and heaven forbid, ask me to explain what they mean. Usually we slide right along without a hitch. However, there is always one that makes the students laugh every single time. In Act I Scene i, there is a bit where the two families are gearing up for a big street fight and daddy Capulet says to his wife, "What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!" Of course the kiddos all snicker because it sounds like Cap is calling his wife a 'ho. This is where I have to explain every single year that he means quickly, or now, or right away, not whore.

This year during 6th period, I made my own error at this point in the play. . . kind of. The student reading Capulet's part read his line and the girl who was reading Lady Capulet's part (who has the next line) was kind of spacing out. A student sitting directly to my right asks me at this interval, "What kind of ho are they talking about?" Just as he is asking this question, I'm half listening to him and looking at my list of who has which part. Not really hearing what he has just said, I say the girl's name to get her to read her part, except that it sounds like I'm answering his question. As in "Girls Name" is the kind of ho they are talking about. The student who asked the question starts cracking up while I cringe at the implication. I apologize and clarify. I'm just glad that this particular student is a pretty good sport. All in all, it was pretty funny and pretty awesome.

Quotes for the week:

"If I knew sign language, it would eliminate a lot of confusion."
Student on not understanding what his classmates sign to each other during class.

There was a big water spill on the first floor of the building in which I teach, and the custodian crew had shampooed the carpets in the hallway. It hadn't dried all the way, so it smelled like wet dog for most of the day. By the end of the day, my room smelled pretty funky.

Student 1: "It smells like moldy feet and hot butt."
Student 2: "How do you know what that smells like, you freak?!"

Continuing the the R&J theme:

"Who's Mercutio? It that the one with the M?"
Apparently, this student thought that everyone had been saying "Recutio" all this time.

"If it's dumb, I will hate you until the end of time."
A student's response to me explaining that the entire class would be learning the dance from the 1960s Romeo & Juliet movie that we were watching. Here's the kicker--and a test to see if any of my English I students read my dorky blog--I said it as a joke. I'm totally pulling their chains. I told them to ask my students from last year, and they took that as an affirmation that they would indeed have to learn the weird jingling wrist-bell dance from the movie. I love it! The scary thing is, however, that some of the students were a little bit excited about it. Wha???

Incredibly awesome. Have a good week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for the week of May 1-5, 2006

Pardon the chaos, but the order is not particular.

My friend and fellow teacher sent me an e-card for May Day. While this really isn't all that exciting in itself, you have to understand why May Day holds special meaning to me. If you ever take my creative writing class, you'll get the full meal deal of an explanation. The short of it is: 6 daffodils, three accomplices, two Campus Parking Service employees (AKA Parking Nazis), a half dozen of the folks in blue and little ol' me. Happy May Day everyone!

My professor from Graduate school came by to visit my classroom, and she was treated to my hecka sweet intro to Romeo & Juliet lesson. Basically, I read through the Prologue (Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene, etc.), and then I bust out the lyrics to Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby" and proceed to rap it as only The Havig can. (i.e. kinda poorly) Finally I rap (again Havig style) the Prologue of R&J. It's a sight to been seen, let me tell you.

In English I we started Romeo & Juliet which is pretty darn awesome in itself. I do believe it is my favorite unit that I teach.

A couple of students at Prairie organized a March to the Middle with the kids from Battle Ground High School which is the other mainstream high school in our district. A bunch of students, staff, and parents marched along Highway 503 toward a central location to show support for our upcoming levy. A lot of kids showed up, and that's completely cool.

At the afore mentioned march, the Prairie people had to walk about half as far as the Battle Ground people. It's good to be a falcon.

Quotes for the week:

"It's like we're a mob, but we're not angry."
- a student commenting on the march

"You really need to put in some periods in there, sweetheart."

- a student in 2nd period offering advice to a classmate who was working on her 5 paragraph essay. She had about 8 sentences total. Really, really, really long sentences.

Good news ECMOA fans, you can expect postings with brand new, shiny moments of awesomeness later this week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for the week of April 17-21, 2006

These still appear in no particular order, but you probably knew that already.

Creative Writing

"Or naming them after months, like Spring."

They had a journal entry prompt which discussed names that you should never name children. The student realized his mistake, but the pause between his comment and the class laughing was perfect, and of course awesome.

The following quote originates from a journal entry asking what one piece of memorabilia would they want if they had an unlimited amount of money. One student--a boy I might add--wanted to buy somebody's (I don't remember who) two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress just because it would be cool to have. A girl in the class was asking him what on earth he would do with such a thing, and he said he just thought it would be cool to have a two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress hanging in the closet. The girl kept asking why, to which he replied with finger pointing at the girl for emphasis:

"Could you say that you have a two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress in your closet? That's what I thought."

Reading/Writing II

There were quite a few related to Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum." We read the short story and talked about how it compares with modern day tales of horror. Nobody dies in Pit, and there's barely any blood. Nowadays, you have to have a minimum body count of 10 to make it worth the eight bucks you pay to see the darn thing. (So I am told.) One student pointed out how Poe's story was smarter because it made you think about how much it would suck to wait for days to die.

The same student's summary of a modern horror movie:

"I'm going to chop your head off, and everything's going to be alright."

We also watched a movie loosely, loosely based on Poe's story. It was made in 1961 and stars Vincent Price. It's one of those movies where it's so bad that it's good. Well, to me anyway. My students may have had a slightly different opinion.

"The story was better than the movie, and that's saying a lot coming from me."

"She's just dehydrated."
- Referring to a corpse that had just been exhumed.

"If I was a ghost, I'd be all Marco."
- Referring to the spirit of Elizabeth calling out Nicholas' name.

"Oh look at that guy makin' out with the corpse. That's hot."
- You should really just see the movie.

English I

We read John Steinbeck's The Pearl in English I which is about a guy who finds a pearl and believes that it will drastically improve his life and the future for his infant son.

One moment of awesomeness is when two students began to make a really good comparison between the main character in The Pearl and Anakin Skywalker in Episodes I-III of the Star Wars movies. Both the changes that the characters go through and the reasons for the changes are quite similar, and I was proud of them.

The second is a quote from a student who was proclaiming her distaste of the Star Wars movies.

"When he's all 'Luke, I am your father,' I was like, how stupid is that."

In my other English I class, they made the connection between the pearl in novel and the ring in Lord of the Rings which is also a good comparison. The truly awesome thing is that both 5th and 6th periods made the suggestion that we watch all three movies (Star Wars for 5th and Lord of the Rings for 6th) in order to obtain a better understanding of the novel. If only they knew...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ECMOA Week of April 10-14, 2006

Some place there is a particular order. This is not that place.

English I

The following stems from the class discussion about Steinbeck's The Pearl.

Student 1: "The doctor is all fat from eating corncakes."
Student 2: "And bacon."
Student 3: "And human." He pauses and looks at his copy of the novel. "I don't know. Am I the
only one who got the cannibal version?"

Reading/Writing II

"Rachael smells like strawberries and goodness."

Havig: "Did you get hooked up?" Inquiring if a student still needed the pencil that he had
requested earlier.
Student: "Hooked up? What movie did you watch last night, Boyz N the Hood?"

Okay, even if I am the butt of the joke on this last one (which we all know rarely happens), they're still pretty awesome.

ECMOA: RMIFWIWCMD Edition Spring 2007

Here are some old ones, or as I like to call them: Random Moments I Found While I Was Cleaning My Desk.


Creative Writing

The students were responding to a journal entry prompt which asked them which animal most closely resembled them in personality, appearance, attitude, etc. One student turned to her friend for help.

Student 1: “What animal do I move like?”
Student 2: “Something fat. No! I mean something that waddles.”
Student 1: “Hey!”
Student 2: “No, like you move kind of slow.”

The conversation continued as student 2 continued to dig her own grave.

English I

The class was reading a teleplay by Stephen King titled, “Sorry, Right Number.” After a day of reading as a class, one student was flipping ahead in the reading before we continued. His character had died in a previous scene, and he wondered aloud why he would have a line after he was dead.

To this a student responded: “Didn’t Stephen King write this? That’s why you have a line after you’re dead.”

At the beginning of class I had this interaction with a student who sat at the front of the room.

Student: “Do you want to hear a story?”
Havig: “Do you want to hear an even better story?”
Student: “No, because it’s probably some smart-alec remark.”

Well, to his credit, that was probably true.

The Odyssey

Student: “He’s got a goat, and he knows how to use it!”

While watching the film of The Odyssey where Odysseus goes to the underworld. Ody has to take a goat to sacrifice in order to cross over and the souls in Hades act menacingly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


We've moved! Well, it's moved anyway...the English Class Moments of Awesomeness. What started as my personal desire to share with the world how hilarious and amazing my students can be has grown a bit, so I've moved it from my MySpace account to here.

In the near future, I will create an archive of the old ones for your reading pleasure.

By the way, my name is Hav, and I teach English at a high school in the greater Vancouver, Washington area.