Friday, September 18, 2015


 It's an exciting day on campus! There have been two deep holes in the patio area since school began. I think there used to be trees there but they were removed...I don't know why. And now we will have trees again! Yay! I wish they would put in trees that provide more shade but they also have to think of the cement areas and root structure. So, any green tree is a good one, I say! Right now they are only 5 feet tall but the other ones like them, on campus, max out at the roofline of the other buildings, so there is high hope. I just hope they grow quickly!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Power Shift

     I saw this tee shirt on a student yesterday. It gave me a chuckle. I love how it sounds out about girls getting more powerful. So often young girls, especially in the Hispanic communities, are treated as lesser people. Many of them are still brought up to be shy, quiet and subservient. So when something like this crops up on campus, I love it. You go girls!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Shove it! Sex Change"

     For those of you that don't know the lingo, a "sex change" is a name for a type of jump turn on a skateboard. The "shove it" part seems to be local addition.
     Skateboarding seems to be the "in" thing this year with my sophomores. Any given time of the day I have at least 2 skateboards in my room while I conduct class. Sometimes the kids come and leave them when they have PE or a class where the teacher does not want them around.
     You would think that the users of these boards would be mostly male, and they are, but more and more girls are riding them. One can tell by how they are decorated. Girls mostly use flowers and guys, well, guys...they try to get away with pictures of naked women on the bottom of the board but the security people on campus check them, especially if they are holding them with the wheels poised toward their body. So we see more of a variety of pictures and band's logos and other stickers; everything from Sponge Bob Square Pants to marijuana leaves (which security makes them cover also, but they try!) Internet gaming symbols and logos are popular.
     It's funny. When I was growing up in Southern California, in the early 60's, my cousins probably had some of the first boards created. I remember my mom and aunt talking about how dangerous they were. I think that was because people just weren't expecting a teenager to be gliding down the street in traffic. Now we wouldn't give it a second thought. My students say it is a quick and easy way to get around. With the cost of cars and gas and insurance...I'm surprised we don't see more adults on them!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Plain Spoken

          The first year I started teaching I taught 5 periods of Introduction to Literature which, in our district, is the 9th grade basic English class. On the curriculum calendar was Romeo and Juliet. Going to the book I found the original text in Shakespeare "speak." Oh, no! How are the kids going to understand what they're reading? I took a class that included Shakespeare, among other authors, but I was not very good as deciphering the Great Bard. And many of my students were not good at speaking English, no less Shakespearian English. But, when I asked my grade level teacher mentor about teaching it, she informed me that our school had it in "Plain Spoken" which means that the books had the original text on the left hand side of the pages and more common English on the right hand side of the page. Whew! I was relieved! With a little background investigation about the author and the play, and my construction of a study guide, we made it through.
     The second year I taught I got classes of American Literature for 11th graders. I didn't have to worry about Shakespeare. And for the years after that when I got 10th graders, which hasn't been often, I just skipped over Shakespeare. According to the curriculum calendar Julius Caesar is supposed to be taught in 10th grade. This year I have 5 period of World Literature and I figure it's about time I throw Shakespeare into the mix. I am not thrilled. When checking with our library, did we, at least, have a "plain spoken" version of anything other than Romeo & Juliet? No.
     But luckily, there's Google! I found a PDF version of the play with both original text and common English. Yay! Of course then I had to hunt down the Assistant Principal in charge of textbooks and ask him if I printed it out, could I have a class set Xeroxed? He said that would be the way to go, as the budget for textbook is zero right now. (I ask you, how can a district function without a budget for textbooks? I'll leave my sarcastic response to your imagination.) So, the next unit is set. We'll go through the play and then see the movie. In plain English: done.