Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cursive Handwriting becoming Extinct?

When I was in elementary school in the mid 1960s, there were no computers, no calculators, and typewriters were only in the office. Teachers wrote on the blackboard with white chalk and they wrote in cursive. 

We were expected to be able to write and read cursive. Not only that, we were all expected to write exactly the same way.   We held our pencils exactly the same way, we formed the letters the same way, the letters were all uniform in size.

We had penmanship lessons.  First we traced the letters, then we created our own.  If ours didn't look exactly like the example, we did it again.   We got a grade for how well we were able to conform to the penmanship expectation.

When did all this stop?  Students hold pencils any way they want.  Letters are all different sizes and are formed any which way.  There is no uniform capitalization or spacing.  In short, its a mess.
An unintended result of never really learning how to write cursive is that students never really learn to read cursive.    Cursive is becoming extinct.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I want Modifications too!

Students are entitled to the least restrictive environment. As a middle-school teacher, I think I’m entitled to the same. I want, for me, the least restrictive environment in my classroom. In order to achieve the least restrictive environment for students, the government mandates modifications to help that student achieve a maximum educational experience. Well, I want some modifications too.

1. Limited distracters—No student can have more than two modifications.

2. Extended time—The due date for all grades and paperwork can be extended up to two weeks.

3. Assignment books—Students and parents are responsible for assignment books. The teacher is not responsible to do a darn thing related to the student’s assignment books.

4. Required substitution—Before any parent can comment on anything that happens in any classroom, the parent is required to substitute teach in that classroom for a week.

5. Positive reinforcement—The teacher gets the choice of lots and lots of chocolate, lots and lots of liquor, or time out—you know, time alone to do what ever I darn well please.

6. Preferential seating— Who are we kidding here? Teachers don’t sit down. But we could restrict the type of students that are close to the teacher. For example, no tappers, hummers, snorters, or gas passers are allowed within 25 feet of the teacher.

7. Notetaking assistance—The teacher will not be required to take any notes or remember anything that is not provided to the teacher in writing.

8. Notifications—All parents of students in the teacher’s classroom will be required to attend a long, boring meeting where the teacher’s modifications are explained in excruciating detail to the parents. The parents will be required to make weekly reports as to whether they are complying with the modifications.

9. Limited distracters, redux—The teacher’s classes will be limited to students that actually capable of and are motivated to learn the subject matter. Students who are not motivated will be removed from the class. I don’t care where they are sent, just that they are gone.

10. Behavior modifications—In order to keep the top of the teacher’s head from blowing off, the students are required to modify their behavior.

a. The teacher is not required to say any instruction more than once.

b. The teacher will write the page number on the board and all students will refer to the board and not ask, “What page is it on?”

c. Students are prohibited from exclaiming, “There’s a test today?” when the class has been reviewing for the test for three days prior and the teacher has announced the test for nine consecutive days.

d. Students are prohibited from asking to go to the restroom when they know the teacher never let’s anyone go to the restroom.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Taking pics of jewelry is hard. It's time consuming. It's not fun. I like making the jewelry. But photographing it is the pits. See these pics? What you don't see is the about 100 other blurry, wasted shots. Thank goodness for digitial cameras!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I just got back from Wal-Mart.  ARGH! I went by myself with a list with 6 things on it.     

Then I headed to the garden section because I needed a rake.  Our rake was a victim of Hurricane Ike,  (Okay, I ran over it with the car but it was right after Ike.) The rakes are outside until all the Christmas stuff is cleared out.  So outside I go.  There are six types of rakes.  OMG.  Now I have to figure out what rake is best.  An old guy was standing there and he wanted to tell me all about rakes and why the $35 rake was what I needed.  I think he was insulted when I bought the $3.99 one.

Then I went all the way across the store to get the rest of the stuff - groceries.  Not hard stuff--milk, bread, ice cream, etc.  The staples of life.  There was a whole family standing in front of the 2% milk blocking all the doors.  Two of them were on the phone.  They couldn't decide what milk to buy.  GET OUT OF MY WAY!  How much decision making is there?  Buy the cheapest 2%--it's the one that says WIC approved.  Duh.

So I worked my way to ice cream.   I couldn't get into the ice cream aisle because this chick had it blocked.  She had a basket with a head of lettuce and 12 grain bread and she had two doors of the ice cream case open and she was memorizing the Blue Bell labels.  I cleared my throat and she didn't move.  I said "excuse me" and she still didn't move.  Then, as I decided to either ram her basket or turn around, she looked at me with an extremely snotty look and said, "Do you want by?"  I said, "Yes."  She rolled her eyes and sighed and moved her basket just enough for me to get by.

All of the checkout lanes had lines except the self-check.  So I went to self-check.  I forgot to bring in my green friendly bags so I had to use their bags.  The bags were stuck together so I had to wrestle with the bags. I rang one item up twice and had to wait for the clerk.  I almost got hit by a car playing arrhythmia causing rap music in the parking lot.  But now I'm home eating ice cream.  I'm pretty sure it was worth it.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I now tweet on twitter. I am BeadQueen. I have 10 followers which is pretty cool.  I'm following etsy and other etsy sellers.  What I've learned is that I have a lot to learn. 

I need to work on photography, writing descriptions, and just about everything else.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and inadequate.  A few sales wouldn't hurt.