Saturday, January 17, 2009

ECMOA for January 5-16, 2009

Holy crap it’s a brand new year!

Before we get on with the moments, there is a You Tube that you should check out. Just to warn you it’s really disturbing, but in a funny kind of way. One of those, you’re a teacher—you shouldn’t find that funny kind of funny. However, I am the kind of teacher that loves Family Guy and Robot Chicken and all of their amazing inappropriateness. Anyway, go to YouTube and search for “The Count Censored” and watch the video. It really makes you wonder what the original Sesame Street people were thinking when they wrote that song.

Moment 1:
We were discussing Count von Count from Sesame Street and how awesome he is when my random student in 3rd period randomly said, “3 is the best. 1, 2, 3.”

Moment 2:
“You just compared God to the WASL.”

Student in my third period class in response to my commentary on Leo Tolstoy’s “Work, Death, and Sickness.” In this short story, a god figure wants man to work together, but never lets man know. He just makes them suffer in different ways in hopes that they would learn to work together. The mysterious end goal combined with seemingly unnecessary suffering reminded me of the WASL—the WASL is Washington’s mandated state test to measure Annual Yearly Progress in order to comply with the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Moment 3:
I started teaching another teacher’s Honors English II class since she went on maternity leave at the beginning of January. For whatever reason, those kids (6th period) were freaking out a bit about having me as their teacher instead. Something about they thought I was going to overload them with work. My fourth period class decided that I should perpetuate my reputation by being slightly crazy and creep them totally out.

Here are some of their suggestions:
- relate everything to death
- don’t ever smile
- don’t even use sarcasm
- any time some one laughs tell them, “it’s English class time; it’s not joke time.”
- make them do what ever the English class equivalent is of running laps

From this last suggestion, a student said that writing sentences would be the English class equivalent of running laps resulting in the following conversation.

Student 1: “I will not tell lies.”
Havig: “Yeah, make them write in their own blood.”
Student 2: “WHAT?!?!?!?”

Student 2 had not been paying attention to the rest of the conversation and thought we were still talking about what I should do to further freak out 6th period.

Moment 4:
This is connected with the above suggestions from 4th period. A student suggested making them read aloud, and another upped the ante by saying I should have them read aloud in unison. I pointed out that having students read aloud in unison was really creepy and was very cult-like.

This related to an earlier discussion the class had about infomercials, and one of the current favorite infomercials is the one for Snuggies. The students decided that they wanted to all get Snuggies in matching colors and wear them to class. It was further decided that they could get the hearing amplifier that looks like a blue tooth head set to look even more like a cult.

Moment 5:
Student: “I learned the difference between oceans and seas today.”
Havig: “That’s good.”
Student after some thoughtful reflection: “If it actually comes from the ocean, why isn’t it called ocean food?”
Havig: “I have no idea.”

Moment 6:
In Honors English II class, we are reading Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoesvsky. Now this is a tough read, especially since the first part is basically the narrator rambling on about all that is wrong with himself and with society. In my new acquired 6th period class, they were asking if the second part of the novel got any better.

Havig: “Well, there’s a hooker.”
Student: “Hasn’t there been a hooker in everything we’ve read.”
Havig, thinking back on the last three novels we’ve read, “Why yes, actually.”

For the record, the presence of hookers was completely coincidental.

Moment 7:
My freshmen just finished reading The Odyssey this week. Last week I was explaining the complex character that is Odysseus. I was telling them to look for the decisions that make Ody a good leader and the ones that make him a poor leader. I also described how he is a physical phenom when it came to battling.

Student 1: “That sound like me.”
Havig: “What, good decisions, bad decisions?”
Student 1: “Well, yeah, and strong.”
Havig while doing a little mock Hulk Hogan pose: “You going to pose a little for us?”
Student 1: “Nah.”
Havig: “Did you get your tickets?”
Student 1, laughing about the reference: “Yeah.”
Student 2: “Tickets?”
Havig: “Your tickets to the gun show.”
Student 2: “That’s like some 80s pick up line.”
Havig: “That’s not from the 80s.”
Student 2: “Well, it sounds like something my dad would say.”

Moment 8:
A student put a fake parking violation on my windshield afterschool one day. For the record, my truck was perfectly parked; however, the ticket was for having an “abnormally large” vehicle. Now that I cannot argue with.

Moment 9:
“How long do you think it would take to clean up all of that blood?”
Student in response to Book 22 of The Odyssey with is appropriately titled “Death in the Great Hall” where Ody slaughters 100 men.

Moment 10:
After we finished reading The Odyssey, we started watching the 1997 movie version which begins with Ody running to where his wife, Penelope, is in active labor.
Student: “I thought she (Penelope) was supposed to be pretty.”
Havig: “Dude, she’s in labor. Give her a break.”

There is only one week left in first semester. That in itself is an awesome moment.

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

ECMOA for the Month of December, 2008

December was a very short month school wise. Winter break was only part of the lack of school days. Due to Arctic Blast 2008, we had three snow days to close out the week before winter break. No complaints here.

Moment 1:
Okay, this is totally about me, but since the occasion was my 30th birthday, I think it’s okay to put my moment first. I turned 30 on a Saturday, and on the Friday before, a few of my colleagues (Riedel, Truelove, and Muller) decorated my classroom in celebration. The Happy Birthday signs were fantastic. However, I was a little frightened by the shear amount of pink that inhabited my workspace. It seemed a few giant pink elephants ate a few too many pink Hostess Snowballs while drinking pink lemonade and then threw up all over my classroom. There were numerous princess tiaras stapled to my walls. The best (worst?) part was the infinite amount of pink metallic tinsel covering EVERYTHING. My desk, my podium, my overhead, all of the shelves, the counter, all of my desk drawers, my cupboard were all covered in the stuff. That and confetti in the form of little Happy Birthdays, stars and dime sized Barbie stickers. Again, these were all over my desk and podium. In my desk drawers, I also found a Barbie doll and a My Little Pony named Pinkie Pie. Absolutely horrifying. When I asked the culprits about the theme of the décor, they admitted that when they were planning my room décor, they asked themselves, what says Havig? They decided that pink and princesses was the answer.

Moment 2:
Students in my 4th period class were swapping stories of their childhood. Once again, I’m not sure how the topic came up, but I swear it had to do with what they were reading for class. Anyway, one student was recounting how when she was little, her older brother (who is two years older than her) and his friend would fight over who had to sit next to her in the car. Apparently it was a huge deal and not just the typical calling shotgun. She couldn’t figure out why neither of them ever wanted to sit by her. She was feeling quite slighted by the whole ordeal.

Then, as her story continued, she got a little quieter and admitted, “and sometimes, in the car, I would bite them…hard.”

Moment 3:
A student in my 3rd period class said “reading” as a weird past tense way, pronouncing it like “redding” instead of “reeding.” Then we got into a discussion about it, and I shared a little gem about a professor I had who used the read (present tense) and read (past tense) thing to point out how important context is when reading. He wrote READ on the board and asked a student to pronounce the word. Which ever way the student said it, he said it was wrong. The student in my class was adamant that the way he said it could be correct. At this time, another student pointed out that, “it’s not ‘slepting’” as an example of why he was wrong.

Moment 4:
One of the students in my 3rd period class set up a blog to keep track of the win/fail points that students have earned in class. One student earned numerous fail points for bringing in a bag of cookies and sharing them with the class. The fail points were because he later admitted that he had found the cookies in his garage, and he wasn’t sure how old they were. Fail points indeed.

School starts up again tomorrow. Wish us all luck.