Some FUN videos to make your day.

Tony and I used to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Once he was gone, it seemed that we had other things to do.  I’m not particularly a Jimmy Fallon fan as I just haven’t every seen much with him in it, but I have had opportunity lately to see some of the music things he’s doing on The Tonight Show and they are VERY cool.

A new, hit song to begin with.  I’ve still not see the movie, but I hear it’s great.

One for those of us from the ’80′s.  I see a few wrinkles, but other than that, Kevin Bacon has not aged AT ALL.

And this shows the wonders of what iPads can do. . .

It’s That Time of Year!!!

Blog 2014 Invite

This year’s invite. . .I spent a large majority of the day making this in Word, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!!!  I haven’t gotten to do much along the lines of creativity lately, so this was a much needed fix. They will be printed on craft paper card stock.  I might try my hand at lining envelopes to add some color.

I found TONS of great clip art and antique pictures that are free to use at this website, The Graphics Fairy.  There are SO MANY pretty things.

Friday Evening

It is Friday evening.  There are things I need to do.  Right now I am not doing them.  I am sitting a window away from my children.  Victoria is helping Thad complete an assignment that is late–which is causing his grade to dip into a letter of the alphabet that is unacceptable.  It involves copying–not his forte–not his favorite thing–and not something even worthwhile quite honestly.  Alas, it needs to be done.

What I love is that my kids are together–on my front porch.  Victoria is taking phone shots of the  page that Thad needs to copy–she is reading the words to him while he writes them down.  He has tracking issues (as in if he looks at a line of writing, then looks over at his paper to copy it down, he can’t find his place where he was before without starting at the beginning and going ALL the way back through).  It’s not so fun.  But he can’t play Minecraft until it’s done, so he’s getting it done.

Poppy is walking back and forth on the porch railing.  It has grown overcast outside.  I am already in my nightgown.  I am glad it is the weekend.

It has been a busy week, and I capped it off today by making two mothers angry because I was reprimanding their children, my students, for being rude and disrespectful.  To me.  It is not the in your face rude and disrespectful that I get a lot of–it is the silent but deadly disrespect.  Much like it’s greater know sbd counter part, it doesn’t arrive with a loud, rude noise.  It creeps up insidiously, and by the time you realize it’s attacking your space, it’s too late to get away.

Their behavior is very much like that. Their behavior stinks.   They are smart/good-looking/pretty/fashionable/fairly well-off/talented/athletic/popular students.  They are also very much convinced that they are on an equal playing field with me.  That because they are all of the above, they can and do have an equal say in what happens in my classroom–that their intelligence or social standing merits a say in whether they want to follow my rules or not. That if what they have to say is funny enough, or snarky enough, or will entertain their very small, well chosen group of friends, then it’s okay for them to sally forth. That if they don’t feel they need the particular directions or instructions I am giving, that they can get up to take care of some incredibly important task like throwing away a gum wrapper or getting hand sanitizer.  Never mind that I don’t fight the gum battle or that I bought the hand sanitizer with my own money.

Current methodology and research insists that the space in which I teach should no longer be referred to as MY classroom.  To make students buy in to what I have to say–to make them feel comfortable and welcomed and empowered with ownership, I should refer to it as OUR classroom.  They do, quite often, have a say regarding what happens there.  I am a teacher who believes in choice.  I often refer to “our class.”  I quite frequently let them choose their own seats, but I reserve the right to move them if they can’t choose wisely or behave.  I quite frequently give a choice of activity but reserve the right to assign tasks as I see fit.  I have been known to, as today, pass out Jolly Ranchers and Peppermints just because I think it might be nice for them to have a little sugar while they complete their exceptionally long, district given reading test, but I hold to the school policy of nothing but water in the room and no food in the hallways. And I find that the students who have this sbd behavior are already quite empowered enough.

As far as the room goes, well I may be old-fashioned, but the room is mine.   I am held responsible for what is said, taught, and allowed to go on in it.  I set the tone and the rules.  I can put it to a vote or have dominion.  I try to pick my battles.  I say nothing at all about electronics in the hallways (where they aren’t supposed to be) or gum (old school) or cursing in the hallways (too prevalent to determine who actually said it in a sea of children) or dress code violations as they pass by (because nothing is, for the most part, done when I send them to have it taken care of), I house enough supplies in my room to run a Wal-Mart because expecting them to procure their own only causes unnecessary delay, but for all that I put up with on a daily basis, rude and disrespectful behavior to me or anyone else–acting as though someone’s time and abilities are nothing–that I take issue with.    Lots of slack is cut.  Second chances are given frequently.  But expectations are clear.  Not only that, but I really feel like the 90% who do what they are told get just as sick of the silent but deadly behavior as I do.

The sun just broke through the clouds.  Victoria and Thad are still on the porch.  Thad is laughing so hard at something she said or did or showed him that he can barely breathe.  Time to start the weekend and leave the dust of the school week behind.  Until next Monday.  :)

Five

Blog Kittens, 2014 036Thistle knew the perfect way to welcome spring and celebrate the vernal equinox was to have kittens.  Momma  and babies are all doing well. Blog Kittens, 2014 050

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Momma getting some well-deserved attention.Blog Kittens, 2014 068

How many critters can I (legitimately) mention in one post?

We have three baby chickens in a box in our kitchen.  They are sprouting feathers, peep-peep-peeping and generally growing quickly.

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We have a very pregnant kitty in the old snake cage in the garage.  She actually lives across the road, but we are going to adopt two of her litter of kittens.  To aid in their arrival, we are serving as the maternity ward so she will have a warm, dry, well-protected spot to give birth and pass her convalescence.

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We have her in the cage so that a) we don’t have kittens in an inaccessible location, and b) so that Poppy has no reason to misbehave.  It is, after all, her garage at night.  She was none too happy with the interloper at first but has calmed down substantially.

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I was feeling a little guilty about the size of her digs until I saw what they keep full-grown cats in at Petsmart.  We could put 4-5 adult cats in here.

Some dogs (don’t know from whence they came) visited our back yard and were very, VERY unkind to Mr. Rooster who is now no more. Tony got one of them with some wasp spray, so hopefully that will be enough to deter any future visits.

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One of the dogs was still circling the chicken run when we got out there.  It was making The Girls extremely nervous and well so.  At least they had the sense to run into their house (even though the dogs can’t get to them).  I have a feeling that Mr. Rooster went out in a blaze of chivalry.  We shut the door they use to go into the run, so they are inside the coop and safe.

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In the mean time, it’s spring break.  We are headed to Galveston for a couple of days to ride some rides on the Pleasure Pier and do a little crabbing on the way back home.

Crabbing Sept.,2013 014All animals are safely stowed away in the kitchen, coop, or garage with water and food aplenty.

I counted: chicks (3), Cat (2), kittens (unknown quantity), snake (cage), dogs (2), rooster (1, deceased) , wasp (spray), chickens (11), crabs (hopefully enough to fill a large pot).

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For some reason, I am really digging kraft paper right now.  I guess I’ve always loved it.  I come by it naturally.  The paper mill where most of the men I loved in the world spent a large majority of their day made brown, paper bags.  Going to the store across from Granny and PaPaw’s meant peanut butter logs and Super Bubble (green apple, please) in a little, penny bag.  All of jr. high and high school, my lunches were packed in brown lunch sacks.  That doesn’t even cover the multiple craft projects and assignments that were made from grocery sacks (as we called them).  There was once even a (very short-lived) boycott of a store in my small town (West Bros.), because they were using new-fangled plastic bags rather than the brown, paper ones that those men I loved spent most of their days making. They got rid of the plastic bags.  Fast.

As I was photographing our new chicks on Saturday, I noticed the sun casting these perfect shadows of some of my favorite things sitting on the window sill.  I loved how the shadows of the cast iron chair and girl were shown so clearly on the brown cardboard.  Kraft paper, intricate metal work, windows, sunlight and shadow, and eyes with which to see it all.  What blessings.

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Whatchoo lookin’ at, chick?

Victoria has named this handsome fellow Mr. Rooster.  Mr. Rooster is looking quite dapper no?  He doesn’t really belong to us but seems to think that the yaupons in our yard are THE perfect place to roost at night.  And crow.  Whenever he feels like it.

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He was a sad, pathetic specimen of bedraggled, featherless poultry when he wandered to our yard from the neighbors next door.  They have a FINE looking rooster–even prettier than this one, and evidently he ruled the roost.  I’m not sure if this one was offspring or just a third wheel, but his comb was lax and pale, his feathers were just embarrassing, and despite the fact that Tony and I have seen a chicken or two in our day, we swore for THE LONGEST TIME that he was a scrawny hen.  THAT is how pathetic he was.

He now acts as sentry for the girls.  Despite his best efforts, he can’t get to them, but he hangs around anyway.  Between the few scraps we throw him out of love for fowl and what the girls nudge under the fence when they are eating their feed, he has managed to become quite the looker.

Blog Mr. Rooster 2He had better eat his Wheaties, because as of Friday, there are three more pullets to add to the flock.

Blog BabiesMeet Holly, Molly, and Lavender.  They are Americaunas and will lay lovely blue-ish green-ish/green-ish blue eggs come August.  We had been planning them as an addition, and they are asleep in their box in the kitchen right now.  They won’t be ready to add to the flock until about May, so we will keep them in the house for a few weeks until the cold weather is done, then put them in a closed off section of the coop so the ladies can grow accustomed to their presence.  Once they are big enough to hold their own and eat what the big girls eat, they will be released into the flock.

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This is Lavender. Thad chose Holly, Molly, and Jolly as the names since he and his Daddy were the ones to pick them out and bring them home.

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Victoria vetoed Jolly, however, and she and her friend Angelica decided on Lavender. Thad is holding her here.  She doesn’t seem to mind him OR her name.

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She is lighter colored than the other two, so we know it’s her. After Holly and Molly grow, we should be able to tell them apart. . .if not, no harm done.

These little, biddies were born on Wednesday, so we didn’t get as many newborn fuzzy photos.  Yesterday they already had their pin feathers growing in.  Amazing.