Category: education

My latest comic for Ohio Schools magazine. It …

My latest comic for Ohio Schools magazine. It deals with the Supreme Court’s Janus decision.

Day Thirty-Six

The Vice Principal turned 40 today, so every teacher in the ninth grade house (yay common prep time) snuck into her office while she was in a meeting, decorated with balloons and streamers, and sang “Happy Birthday” when she came back in. We also sent kids down with birthday wishes throughout the day. 

So that was fun. 

Life in the Cavern of Learning was a flurry of activity. Mrs. T corralled the half dozen or so kids who still had to finish narratives and worked with them since it’s due today. I took everyone else and moved on with Africa stuff, so I definitely had the easier job today. I just walked around and fielded questions as needed.

During flex time we closed our dividing wall (we usually just leave it since most kids need us both anyhow) because I had a bunch of kids who wanted retake vocab quizzes, and I wanted it to be nice and quiet. I love that they took advantage of the opportunity. That’s so good.

We re-opened the Cavern for Block 4 and got back to work. A double block, even with breaks like flex and lunch, takes a lot of academic stamina, which many of our students are still developing, but we find ways to motivate them. Today, six boys who were goofing off in the last twenty minutes greed to work silently for fifteen I let them have a “moo-off” for the last five. What’s a moo-off, you ask? It’s when people get down on all fours like they’re cows and moo at each other in silly ways; the person who can keep a straight face the longest wins. 


OBVIOUSLY, I let that happen. It was hilarious. And the boys all got their work done beforehand.

Such a win.

I explained the moo-off to my colleagues during the team meeting, and to the NHS board (I’m subbing on that while Mr. B is on leave) after school. Then I spent until about 4:30 prepping for tomorrow. Mrs. T is out, so it’s going to be The Me Show! 

When I tell students to listen during a lesson

When students say class is boring

I’m like:

Day Thirty-Five

I started my day with a lecture on interest groups and lobbying (with a tangent on PACs and stuff because someone asked about that), then assigned a group project on interest groups and iron triangles. I had lots of little discussions while students did research: communism, chambers of commerce, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the establishment clause, gun control, Reagan… 

It’s good stuff. 

Fed. 10 will come back to haunt them shortly. Mwahahaha.



Life in the Cavern of Learning was good, too. Mrs. T worked with anyone whose narrative wasn’t done. I moved everyone else on to the new unit- Africa- and to labeling maps, doing some cultural research, and reading books. There was a medical emergency in the building (I have no idea what happened, but the kids had tons of rumors), and a resulting lockdown right before Block 2 ended. That caused minor chaos- lots of questions, kids trying to look out the window at the ambulance, etc…- and basically ate up flex time.

In spite of that, it was a super productive double block, and a great example of the “move when ready” approach to learning that The Principal wants more of. We also got observed by an elementary school teacher after lunch, and she thought it was neat. Go us.


Now, the other day, a bottle of Axe exploded in boy’s backpack, which was wicked bad for me because I have a fragrance allergy. We figured he’d wash the backpack, but nope. I did my best to stay away, but it wasn’t enough. By Block 5 my nose was stuffy and my eyes were itchy. I had an APUSGOV student in to retake a test, so I just had to sit and resist the urge to sniffle and CLAW MY EYES OUT OMG. 

I managed, though!

When I haven’t responded to emails in a long t…

Day Thirty-Four

Today was SO much better than the last B day of our A/B schedule. Mrs. T and I assigned seats, which did wonders for the noise level in the Cavern; it did wonders for the productivity level, too, of course. I wish we didn’t have to play it that way, but so far the thing holding several of our students back is worrying how others will perceive them if they choose to separate themselves and focus on doing well rather than socializing. I’ve had a few talks one-on-one about that, and so has Mrs. T.


I wish I was as good at it as Mr. Feeny.


Students took a vocab quiz, did pronouns practice, and revised narratives. If they finished all that- and many did, including one or two who surprised themselves- I had them get ahead on stuff for the next unit. Specifically, I had them choose books for The Epic Book Paper and Research Project (redesigned from last year) and start reading.

We had a ninth grade house meeting during Block 5, so I spent about an hour after the bell getting ready for tomorrow. And that was that!



When I’m showing a movie and an inappropriate …

When a student says something so bizarre about…