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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Christmas Carnival

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 200th edition of the Carnival of Education! I am very honored to be hosting this round number of honored tradition, so I thought I would add a bit of holiday tradition to the festivities.

So without any further ado, I present A Blogger Carol:

It was a cold, bleak day in the classroom. The kids had gone home for Christmas vacation; Mister Teacher was, as usual, in a crotchety mood.

Suddenly, Mathew Needleman poked his head in through the door.

Mathew: “Merry Christmas, Mister Teacher!”

Mister Teacher: “What’s so merry about it? Merry for the kids, sure, they get to sleep and eat for two weeks, leaving us with papers to grade, lessons to plan, and – yuck – used Kleenex to fish out of their desks!”

Mathew: “Aw, don’t be such a scrooge. You know what would cheer you up? For one thing, how about adding some spice to your math class by using fantasy basketball stats like Mr. D does? And here’s an idea -- come have Christmas dinner with us this year! We’ll be celebrating Clix’s proposal which has qualified for a match by the Gates Foundation! We’ll even put ketchup on the table, just for you! It’ll be good for you! You can’t just sit at home on the internet again like last year. The Therapy Doc has a very interesting point of view about the vulnerability of bloggers.”

Mister Teacher: “Hmmm… Let me think about it. I’ll send you a text.”

Mathew: “OK, I’ll get… oh, you’re texting me now. All right, ok, I got it, let’s see here… 1 new message from Mister Teacher: ‘Bah Humbug.’ Very clever. See you in January, then. One more thing, though. You really should think about changing your classroom rules. They’re all so negative!”

Mister Teacher locked the classroom door and drove home, muttering all the way. Upon entering his house, he promptly sat down in front of his computer and logged in to As always, he was the only user online.

Suddenly, a loud wailing began emanating from the computer speakers. “EBENEACHER!! EBENEACHER!!!”

Slowly removing his hands from his ears and prying open his eyes, Mister Teacher beheld a wonderous sight. Poking out of his computer monitor was the entire head of Joel from So You Want to Teach?

Mister Teacher: “Joel!! My old partner!! But, but, you’re…”

Joel: “Dead?”

Mister Teacher: “Archived. How are you doing this? And why are you wearing that ridiculous scarf around your head?”

Joel: “Oh, that’s just my spooky avatar. Would you prefer it if I looked like Heather Locklear?”

Mister Teacher: “ Well, duh!”

Joel: “Get used to disappointment. And speaking of, I’m very disappointed in you, Ebeneacher!”

Mister Teacher: “Why do you keep calling me ‘Ebeneacher?’”

Joel: “Ebeneezer, Mister Teacher… Roll with me here. I’m working on a theme. Anyway, have you learned nothing from what happened to me??”

Mister Teacher: “What are you talking about? You were a legend in the teaching field! You made thousands from all the books on differentiated learning! You charged schools loads of money for public speaking appearances! You went unchallenged on everything you said, much like NYCEducator’s girl, DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee! You had the greatest business going!”

Joel: “MANKIND should have been my business!!”

Mister Teacher: “Um, ooooo-kay… I don’t even know what that means.”

Joel: “Me neither. (And by the way, over at the Core Knowledge Blog, they’re a little scared of Michelle Rhee, also.) But I don’t want you to go down the same path and wind up trapped in cyberspace, like me. Good will takes practice and repetition, much like learning a new musical instrument, according to Thomas J West!”

Mister Teacher: “Practice and repetition, eh? As I recall, you were never much on homework, even though you always said you agreed with Bogusia of Nucleus Learning on the purpose of homework!

Joel: “Only one of MANY mistakes before my untimely demise! I should have read rambunctiously, like Mr. McGuire suggests! I should have made a 2 year commitment! But enough about my missteps. I’m doing you a favor here, Ebeneacher. I’ve arranged for you to be visited by three Bloggers.”

Mister Teacher: “3 bloggers? I dunno, I’m kind of busy. Can’t they just add me as Facebook buddies?”

Joel: “Heed their words, Ebeneacher!! Or be forever DOOMED!!”

With that, the 3-D avatar faded from the screen and Mister Teacher found himself staring at a screen full of headlines.

Mister Teacher: “What a drama queen. OK, I’ll bite. Let’s see here, Joel hasn’t lost his predilection for lists. Here’s a link to Larry Ferlazzo’s choice for the 5 “Best” articles about education from this year, and One Family Blog presents a list of elementary school guides, workbooks, and assessment resources.

Lauren from Life Without School wonders if children are becoming too compliant in school.

Rightwingprof gives proof that it doesn’t really matter whether you are a syntax guy or a phonology gal, you’ll arrive at the same answer through analysis.”

Exhausted from the first semester of school and the events of the evening, Mister Teacher fell asleep in front of his computer. He awoke to a persistent ‘ding’ coming from the speakers. Rubbing his eyes, he noticed an urgent message on the screen:

“The Blogger of Christmas Past would like to chat. Do you accept?”

Feeling a bit uneasy, Mister Teacher clicked, “No,” and the message box disappeared.
Mister Teacher: “Blogger of Christmas Past, my a—“

ElementaryHistoryTeacher: “I really think we SHOULD chat, Ebeneacher.”

Mister Teacher: “Holy crap!! How did you get in here??”

EHT: “Not important, silly. And I suppose you know that I am the Blogger of Christmas Past?”

Mister Teacher: “Well, I suppose that’s fitting, and it would explain the A-Team T-shirt and the afro-mullet. What’s with the old Atari joystick?”

EHT: “This icon of the past will be our guide on the information superhighway. You look doubtful, but you of all people should know that stories of historical fact and stories of fiction sometimes complement each other quite well.”

ElementaryHistoryTeacher began to work the joystick, and suddenly a new page appeared on the monitor.

EHT: “Ah, here’s dear old Toni from Wifely Steps. Poor girl.”

Mister Teacher: “What is she doing, Spirit?”

EHT: “Why hiding, of course. In her childhood awkwardness, she used to take solace among books instead of friends.”

Mister Teacher: “Well maybe she could hook up with Amy from Kids Love Learning who seems to be embracing books about ancient Egypt.”

EHT: “We have a lot to cover, Ebeneacher, and not a lot of time. Moving on, we find Greg Laden, who says that using race to classify people belongs in the past and that some new means of description is called for.

Here’s Tracy from Leading from the Heart sharing some stories from one typical day as a teacher in her past.

Mister Teacher: “Well, this is all interesting, but I don’t think – hey! Where did you go?”

The blogger had indeed disappeared, leaving Mister Teacher to wonder if it had all been a dream. His thoughts were interrupted by a voice declaring, “You’ve got mail!” Thinking it a very odd thing to hear, since he was not an AOL subscriber, nevertheless, Mister Teacher opened his inbox and clicked on the new message.

Mrs. Bluebird: “Hello, Ebeneacher!”

Mister Teacher: “Oh, you didn’t scare me as much this time. Who are you supposed to be?”

Mrs. Bluebird: “Why, the Blogger of Christmas Present, of course. And have I got some presents for you! Starting with this anecdote from my own site about a teacher at my school who really is making a difference with our basketball team!

Mister Teacher: “Two points for him. Now I see you’ve called up ESN’s comparison of CSI – real life vs television drama. I’ve often wondered how a real life Counter Terrorism Unit would compare to the wrecking ball that is Jack Bauer.”

Mrs. Bluebird: “Ebeneacher, just think of all the good you could do in your classroom if you knew more about Powerpoint. Take a few tips from Cliotech. And if you want to find great ideas for lessons, try a few of these semantic apps from Alisa Miller!”

Mister Teacher: “What’s this one here? Paul at Scripted Spontaneity is talking about the perfect substitute teacher? I can’t afford to take time off and let a sub have my pay check!!”

Mrs. Bluebird: “Here we are with Travis from Stories from School. He’s looking into how to take down a school system – tongue in cheek, of course.”

Mister Teacher: “Oh great blogger, I am glad I am not working in New York, forced to deal with the situation some tenured educators find themselves in, according to Woodlass!”

Mrs. Bluebird: “Many teachers and education folk across the land are gravely concerned about the situation they find themselves in. Norm Scott argues that teachers are not professionals, as professionals have some control over their professions.”

Mister Teacher: “Well that’s why they need unions, though, like Matt Johnston points out, unions don’t always speak in the best interest of the children.

Mamacita: “Well, that’s just common sense. Something that seems to be lacking in many of our institutions of finer learning.”

Mister Teacher: “Ms. Cornelius brings up something that doesn’t seem to be lacking – cheating. Hey wait a minute, Mrs. Bluebird, why do you look different?”

Mamacita: “Blogger is experiencing technical difficulties. Please pardon our progress. I’m still the Blogger of Christmas Present.”

Mister Teacher: “Ah, life’s a glitch, and then you die. OK, but look here. Surely there aren’t so many online students nowadays making so many critical mistakes!”

Mamacita: “There ARE, Ebeneacher. According to Darren, though, someone who is NOT making a mistake is the Obamas, in sending their children to private school.

Mister Teacher: “Hey, why is Penny talking about the end of the school year already??”

Mamacita: “Because she’s in Australia, where Christmas time IS the end of the school year! Heed her words about Christmas activities in the classroom!”

Mister Teacher: “Spirit, I almost feel my heart beginning to relent. But how could an old miser like myself ever learn to do something fun like Christina’s Teach In?”

Mamacita: “Ebeneacher, you are indeed making progress this eve. Uh-oh. Being spammed! I’m outta here!”

Suddenly pop-up windows filled the monitor and a low, ominous chuckle issued from the speakers. Mister Teacher’s blood ran cold with dread of this last and final spirit.

Mister Teacher: “I feel so depressed all of a sudden! Is this the Blogger of Christmas Future? Spamming and pop-ups? Here’s one for penny stocks and one for growing my… ok, here’s one of interest:

This doesn’t sound so bad. iPhones in every classroom? Educators better take note of all of the apps available to them, thanks to the Online Education Database!

Matthew Ladner guest posts on Jay Greene’s blog about the cost differential per student between UT Austin and a DC school with poor scores. This stands only to get worse as time goes by!

Dave wonders if some working teachers in Texas will just continue to take (and fail) their certification tests over, and over, and over, and over.

I don’t need hair growth therapy, thank you very much, but here’s one where Lori-Giovinco-Harte wonders if children are losing their empathy the more they use the internet?

This one has Joanne Jacobs’ name on it – is Thanksgiving no longer to be celebrated in the future?

OH NO!! Is this an omen of the future, or something I have time to change?? Carol of MyBellringers has been fired and incarcerated after putting into practice her new methods of hall clearing and discipline!!

Mister Teacher awakened to find himself frantically pounding on the keyboard and shouting, “I want to teach! I want to teach!!”

Mister Teacher: “HALLELUJAH!! It’s Christmas Day and I’m back in the real world! And, what’s this? Step by step instructions for making beautiful learning centers tags?? Thank you, Michaele, and God bless us everyone!!!”

As Mister Teacher reveled in his newfound compassion, Old Andrew’s voice slowly floated from the speakers:

Old Andrew: “Congratulations, Ebeneacher, you have avoided the consequences awaiting you, though just to be clear, here are the purposes of punishment. Also just to be clear – I KNEW Charles Dickens, and you, sir, are no Charles Dickens.”

Next week's Carnival will be hosted by the one, the only, Mamacita! Do you know her? Send her an email or use this handy submission form. And links to this week's carnival and Learn Me Good are greatly appreciated!!


Mamacita (The REAL one) said...

This will be a hard act to follow! Excellent Carnival, Mister Teacher. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

What a creative way to approach the carnival!
Thank you for including me.

askthehomediva said...

LOL…What a great way to wake up in the morning! My coffee in one hand and my bowl of oatmeal…no wait, make that porridge in the other!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just don't know how to respond to this. I'm flattered...I think? There is definitely more reading to be done throughout the day as I figure out if my starring role in this is a good thing or not. :)

HappyChyck said...

Wonderful, daaahhhhhhling!

Unknown said...

Math teacher my a... you were meant to teach English!

Penny Ryder said...

Nicely written! You did a great job of putting all this together and making it an ejoyable read. Thanks for including me :)

Melissa B. said...

Great! What a creative job!! I've got another assignment for you today...Listen, I have a challenge up at my place today, which you might get a kick out of. Enjoy!

Michaele Sommerville said...

I can't believe I sat here reading this wonderful holiday tale while eating pizza...I should have had some egg nog, ale, a hot Toddy, *something*!

Thanks for including me- and Happy Holidays!


"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Thanks for sliding me in there at the last minute despite the technical difficulties!

And I love the theme, by Dickens!

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!!!

And I got to be a ghost!

Awesome Job Kiddo!

Anonymous said...

It's the best carvnival ever!

Melissa B. said...

Priceless! And I'm sure you saw Mamacita's post about you...You're Everywhere!! BTW, I'm a finalist for a Pretty Neat Blog Award. Sure would appreciate your vote! Please come by to see me to get the details. Thanks!!

educat said...

Know what my Christmas gift to you is? A tag. I broke my refusal to tag anyone with a meme and just tagged you. Go and see. Can't wait to hear your response.

Anonymous said...

This has got to be the most creative round-up :D Thanks for including me!