Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snow, Yuck!

On Sunday, I was looking at this:

Today, I am looking at this:

I want to go back!!!!!

Uncle Jay Explains: Year-end! 12-22-08

Thanks to Schoolgal.

Happy New Year to all!

Who Says Math Is Not Relevant To Real Life?

You even need it to read the comics.

Baby Blues 12/31/08
Rhymes With Orange 12/13/08

Monday, December 29, 2008

One Love, One Heart

The smile on every tourists face. Happy feet
Fountain at night--in front of my favorite restaurant.
Driftwood--I have 100's of pictures of the wood and dead trees on the beach.
Santa arriving by ATV
Crane enjoying a breakfast of sausage and eggs
Apple martini from the martini bar
Creamy chocolate martini--yummy!

The blue water

No trip to Jamaica is complete without the fire dancer

Jogger footprints

Red stripe bottle--no garbage cans in the nature reserve

Empty sun tan lotion container--a must to refill in this climate

The pastry chef--he made all kinds of yummy desserts and a special chocolate bread for us to bring home.

Bird on the beach

Ocean hitting the shore

Leaf on the beach

This guy weeded his little area all day. I wanted to bring him a drink but he told me he is not allowed to drink on the job--one of the things I hated about the place and plan on writing to them about.

Parade on Christmas day. Christmas was the only day of the year the slaves did not have to work. They wore masks to cover their identities and prevent any retaliation from owners.

Chocolate Fondue from the chocolate buffet.

Hermit crab in a conch shell

Lovers dessert for two
Lights reflecting in pool

Salad--so pretty it needed a picture before eating

Bird--waiting for pizza leftovers

Peacock, also waiting for leftovers.

Boat used by a local to hawk conch shells. He didn't sell many. Tourists in Jamaica don't carry cash.

Vine along beach

Lost sandal

Swamp with a crocodile that I did not get to see.

Don't Worry, About A Thing...

Don't worry, about a little thing.
Everything will be, all right.

We must have heard that song five times every day. I should be sick of it, but I'm not. In Jamaica, everything really is all right. The weather is terrific, the beach is fantastic. Going to an all inclusive means you've spent a pile of money up front but anything you want is there for the taking.

Crazy person that I am, I made everyone get up extra early to make sure we got to the airport in plenty of time. Luckily, there was almost no snow and we had no trouble getting here. My son drove us to the airport, he is such a good kid. He even called when he got home when I admitted that I needed him to call because I am excessively neurotic. Playing hooky two days before vacation officially starts was much better than our usual Christmas day flight. The airport was not nearly as crowded as usual. We even had emergency row seats. I love that extra leg room. My Kosher breakfast even tasted good.

Our flight was supposed to board at 6:30. We ended up boarding the plane by 8:00 and we thought “Great. We will make it in time for lunch. Again, no such luck. The weather got sucky and we had to wait to de-ice. Finally, at 10:45 we took off.

Although we lost most of the first day, things were still all right. I was sick, but that was all right too. Our room was beautiful. We had a corner room that had a view of sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening. (The room was a big upgrade from what we paid for.)

More details of the trip later this week. For now, a few pictures.

The beach--the hotel has a nature reserve on both sides of it.

From the pastry shop--my favorite eating place. The woman is making delicious crepes.

Just what the doctor recommends after a long school year.

Starfish under water. These guys were all over the beach.

Sunset seen on our first night.

The pool with the ever popular swim up bar.

A rare picture of the two of us.

The view as we ate lunch in one of the many restaurants.

Swans decorating chairs.

The beach.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Don't Expect Me To Air Your Gripes

Charlie, my neighbor, was a teacher, like you and I. Many years went by and he became an assistant principal. A few years later, he became the acting principal and then he found out he was going to be appointed principal.

Me: Charlie, you know that we can no longer be friends.

Charlie: What do you mean?

Me: I cannot be friends with a principal, sorry.

Charlie: I'm me. I'll always be me no matter what job I

Me: We'll see.

Two months passed and I ran into Charlie again.

Charlie: You were right. I changed. The job forces you to
do things you wouldn't ordinarily do.

I have received e-mails and comments from people who want me to go back to my honest and open comments on the administration and teachers at Packemin HS.

Sorry, I can't do that. I am enjoying not being on the administration's hate list. It might not last because I get pissed off pretty easily but as long as nothing affects me directly, there will be nothing negative here. But, when there is something good, I will write that. I'm not sucking up. I'm just giving credit where credit is due. For those of you who don't like that, stop reading and write your own blog.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pouring Out Useless Information

IEP teacher dots all his i's and crosses all his t's when he writes up one of these things. He uses all the appropriate catch phrases "Johnny will finish 50% of his assigned tasks on time." "Gloria will raise her math level by 5 points."

IEP teacher sits in the classroom and does a crossword puzzle or searches the Internet while Gloria and Johnny are left on their own to complete their homework or do whatever else they feel like doing.

Main Stream teacher does not read IEPs. Instead, Main Stream gives up many a prep and lunch period to sit with Gloria and Johnny in resource room to bring them up to level and help them compete. Main Stream teacher has made flash cards to help Gloria and Johnny better remember what has been taught. Main Stream teacher has spent time getting to know Gloria and Johnny on a real level and has figured out a way that might possibly help.

In an ideal world Main Stream teacher would have time to read IEPs and help students. In an ideal world the IEPs would have useful information on them. NYC schools are not Utopias. Being a part of the system means you cannot have it all.

Now we can check IEPs online. Too bad my school does not hae computers easily available for teacher use. Too bad the IEPs are filled with useless information. Parents of IEP students--you decide. If IEP teacher is right for you and your child is in my class, I will happy to oblige. I will be saving quite a bit of time by devoting myself to these useless documents.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Worksheets Are Not A Substitue For Teaching

Prentice Hall ruined our math students in more ways than one. The poor quality of the text book forced teachers to hand out worksheets every day. The students got in the habit of never opening a book. Prentice Hall encouraged individual work. The students got in the habit of doing sheet after sheet after sheet. They forgot how to listen to the teacher. They forgot how to think.

I'm old fashioned. I really believe kids come to school to be taught. The teachers job is to model the problems and to explain along the way. A good teacher will be able to have the class develop the concepts along with her. Thinking is the most valuable skill these kids need to learn. Worksheets did not teach this. I've watched the wrong answers spread quicker than a forest fire. I've seen kids hand in perfect papers and not have a clue how to arrive at an answer.

A few days ago I gave my geometry class a worksheet, something I rarely do. It was as strange day and many of them were absent. I didn't feel comfortable teaching anything new. The kids loved working on it but I did not teach. I walked around and helped them. I made sure they stayed on target but I did not teach. I did not earn my salary that day.