My wife sells jewelry! Treat yourself to some bling!Treat yourself to some bling!
I am an Affiliate, and I warmly invite you to shop using my store!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Join HBO Free Trial

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Year in Review

It's almost the end of 2011, and as has become tradition, I've put together a little year-end wrap-up. Enjoy, and be safe during the remaining holidays!

January –

Mrs. Teacher and I kicked off the new year in downtown Dallas, first celebrating a good friend’s birthday then watching the fireworks from Victory Plaza outside of the American Airlines Center.

Grades for the evening – Company: A+ Dinner: B+ Fireworks: A Smell of the DART Rail System return ride home: C-

I surprised Mrs. Teacher by taking her to a quaint little bed and breakfast for her birthday. Unfortunately, to get TO the B&B, we had to drive through the seediest part of Ft. Worth, leading Mrs. T to think I had “scored” something else entirely.

Later in the month, the world was rocked when the Astrological Grand Poobahs declared that there would now be THIRTEEN horoscope signs instead of twelve. Suddenly, I went from not knowing or caring what my sign was to not knowing or caring what an Ophiucus was.

February –

The first day of February was also the first of an unprecedented FIVE days of inclement weather and no school. We played in the snow, we built a snowman, and we cultivated a four-foot long icicle. We were both reminded of WHY you don’t eat the yellow snow.

For Valentine’s Day, I went online, taught myself a new recipe, and served Mrs. T a lovely Italian dinner of chicken parmigiana, spaghetti, and white wine. Proud of my new trick, we had chicken parm three times a week for the next 6 months until Mrs. T finally screamed, “ENOUGH!!”

Mid-month, I took the online Jeopardy! contestant test (for roughly the 13th time). Once again, even through a mere digital avatar, Alex Trebek someone made me feel like a complete idiot.

March –

March is the month of Spring Break, and this year we took a trip down to scenic Glen Rose, TX to witness some good friends get married. The weather was incredible for a lovely outdoor reception by the river, and Mrs. Teacher and I even began a heart-warming new tradition, one which didn’t include cigarettes, swamp water, OR small mammals.

We came home one day to find our front yard torn up and our sprinkler system disarrayed, all courtesy of city workers. Turns out they were pouring a new incline at the curb corners for handicap accessibility. I haven’t seen too many people in wheel chairs use these inclines since, but I sure do get sweet air whenever I jump my Huffy now.

Self-proclaimed Warlock Charlie Sheen told everyone who would listen that he was “WINNING,” but the real winners were college basketball fans. After years and years of getting it wrong, CBS finally got it right and aired every minute of every single March Madness tournament game. The world may end in 2012, but Heaven had arrived in 2011. Still getting it wrong – Billy “Fudge” Packer, who insisted that without being TOLD which game to watch, the general populace would fall into chaos.

April –

Once again, the dreaded TAKS reared its ugly head, like a door-to-door salesman who just won’t take, “Not interested,” “No thank you,” or, “My gecko has knocked the lamp over and now my baby is on fire!” for an answer. To the relief of some, it was announced that this would be the last year for the TAKS. Next year, it will be replaced by the STAAR test, proving that spelling will most definitely not be a major factor during testing.

Having made it through most of the school year without catching anything major, in April, I contracted Strep Throat not once, but TWICE in a row. One of my friends jokingly compared this to someone winning the lottery twice in a row and how lucky that made me. I promptly licked that friend’s fork and coughed in his face.

On a seasonably warm evening in late April, it suddenly occurred to me how simple it would be to develop a low-cost, environmentally-friendly, renewable power source for future automobiles. But right then, an episode of Wipe Out came on, and the big red balls completely wiped the idea from my mind. Oh well.

May –

In early May, Mrs. Teacher made a major life decision and changed her hair color from blonde to brunette. Her students were not fooled for a second, and they continued to give her hell. Several of our more distant, less observant acquaintances, however, did think that I had traded in one wife for another.

It was perfect weather on the day we attended the Wildflower Festival in Richardson with some friends. The headliner of the evening was REO Speed Wagon (just one stop on their “Remember us? PLEASE!” Tour), but we bypassed those geriatric crooners to take in a truly awesome Bee Gees cover band. We were staying alive with ridiculous falsettos all night long.

Over Memorial Day, with less than a week to go in the school year, I decided to invest in red pen stock. My reasoning (from experience) being that there will ALWAYS be kids whose tests scream to be canvases for red ink.

June –

The end of the school year finally came, but Mrs. T and I did something very different this year. We actually worked summer school. Well, not truly summer school, but each of our schools had a short summer camp, and we both signed on. It’s unbelievable how refreshing it is to work with kids when there are no standardized tests looming ominously in the distance.

After summer camp and as the summer vacation began, we had a wildly successful garage sale. Clothes, kitchenware, movies, and more flew out of our carport, finally allowing me to park my car indoors as well. The chances of my remaining three hubcaps being stolen immediately decreased significantly.

Midway through the month, we FINALLY met our neighbors from the house two doors down. Not that we had Google Earthed the neighborhood when we moved in to see which houses had pools and then stalked them for months to get on their good side or anything…

July –

On July 2, Mrs. Teacher and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. To everyone who said we wouldn’t last a year – SUCK IT!! We spent the night in the same hotel where we stayed our wedding night, and a few days later celebrated Independence Day with a really cool air show and fireworks display in Addison. We also managed to survive random fireworks set off for the length of that week by our new neighbor friends with the pool.

Proving once and for all that she truly loves me, Mrs. T agreed to undergo a road trip with me. During the last two weeks of July, we visited Charleston, Durham, Ashville, and DC. We caught up with old friends, and even made new ones during a two-hour stop down on I-95. To the lady in the blue halter-top, standing up through your sunroof while honking incessantly the whole time – stay classy, tiger.

While in DC, we saw the final performance of Rock of Ages, featuring Mrs. Teacher’s crush – Constantine Mariachiopolis. She even got to meet him after the show, and somehow her glazed eyes and ear-to-ear smile didn’t make him run away in fear for his life.

August –

The heat in Texas continued to rise, and while we missed setting a record string of 100+ degree days by a single day, we most definitely set a record for FaceBook pictures showing car thermometers with triple digits. Good times, good times.

On the first day of the new school year, I released my second book – Learn Me Gooder. My older nephew, Ethan, graciously agreed to appear on the cover with me, and upon seeing the cover for the first time, my younger nephew, Josh, noted, “That’s Ethan, and that’s Uncle John – with a RED face!”

School year ’11-’12 began, and Mrs. Teacher and I both worked hard to get to know our new classes and bond with our new kids. Days later, we worked even harder to keep getting up and going to work and not cause bodily harm to those new kids.

September –

While I was watching Monday Night Football, Mrs. T came into the living room and handed me something that looked like a blue highlighter. I took it, realized it was a pregnancy test, quickly taught myself how to READ a pregnancy test, and discovered that we were going to have a baby! The names “Krzyzewski,” “Boba Fett,” “Snake Eyes,” and “Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged” were quickly suggested and summarily rejected.

(I did some quick math and ruled on the possibility of it being Constantine Marigoldilalaland’s child.)

This exciting news did put just a LITTLE bit of a damper on our September tradition of wine sampling at Grapefest. However, we had already paid for it, so we still went, and while Mrs. Teacher did not drink, she WAS able to get samples at each booth and pass them over to me. Therefore, BEST. GRAPEFEST. EVER!! We ran into some old Grapefest friends and made some new ones, and nobody puked on anybody else.

Someone passed on an article that described some people who had a fear of ketchup. Good thing they don’t have a fear of being mocked mercilessly, because that would be a nasty double whammy.

October –

Midway through the month, we attended a Murder Mystery Dinner with a group of friends, one of whom was having a birthday. Though it took a while to warm to the prospect of “interrogating” fellow guests for clues, we eventually lost our shyness and grilled a few suspects. Unfortunately, the first guy I probed for answers turned out not to even be one of the main characters. Our guess for the murderer ultimately proved incorrect, but after loudly arguing and haranguing the host for 45 minutes, the fact that we were thrown out and ordered never to return proves that deep down, they knew our scenario was better than theirs.

At the end of the month, our neighbors threw a Halloween party, and we all went dressed as Justice League characters. Mrs. Teacher and I were Supergirl and the Flash, and neighbors included Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman. Conspicuously absent – Gleek and the Wonder Twins.

October marked a new life experience for me as, one day while bored, I cut through a tin can AND a tomato in the same setting.

November –

After having Mrs. Teacher’s old condo on the market for nearly a year, we FINALLY had a buyer in November. Sure, the guy whittled the price down so much so that we metaphorically had to sit crying in the shower for an hour afterwards, but the money pit was finally off our hands. The day before closing, I left a special housewarming gift in the condo for the new owner. Wonder if he’s discovered where that smell is coming from yet.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Mrs. Teacher’s parents down in Blanco (now with TWO stoplights!). We all drove in to Fredericksburg the evening after for a musical performance at the Rock Box Theater, which was highly enjoyable. On the way home, several suicidal deer jumped out in front of me, but thanks to my lightning-fast reflexes and my inherent dislike of venison, those deer did not meet their maker that night. I may have crushed a careless turtle, though.

Two days after Thanksgiving, I was visited by the 69-year-old version of myself, using a time machine that I will apparently co-create with Mark Cuban, Papa John, and The Situation. I told myself that the Kardashians WOULD eventually go away, and I was very relieved.

December –

Choosing to be surprised earlier than later, we learned that our growing “quark” was a boy! Mrs. Teacher was just a little disappointed at first, as she really wanted to be the one to break the “Pearson curse,” while I breathed a sigh of relief that our child would never appear on an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras.

Mrs. Teacher and I once again split the Christmas holiday with our families, spending Christmas Eve in Arlington with my folks, Christmas Day in Blanco with her folks, and roughly 3 hours on I-35 with random folks. Upon arriving in Blanco, we found a rifle laid out on the bed. I think that if my father-in-law did that to send a message, he is the worst procrastinator in the universe.

We plan on finishing out the year by having a nice, laid-back, quiet evening at home, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Oh, and finishing off the 2 gallons of blue drinks left over from our Christmas party. Well, ONE of us will be drinking them, anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas party gems

Friday was our last day of school before the Christmas Break, and there were SEVERAL stand-out moments from the day to last in memory for some time to come. I thought I'd take a minute and list some of them...

- I wrote the daily word problem on the board to include the name of 3 of Santa's reindeer -- Blitzen, Comet, and Dasher. The kids had no earthly idea who these were, and to my amazement, there was only one kid in each class who had even heard of RUDOLPH!!

- A little girl gave me a candy bar, something called a Bubu Jubu or Lubee Boobee or something. It was a chocolate covered, marshmallow and jelly candy. Pretty tasty. When we left the room to walk to PE, I told the little girl that it was tasty and thanked her. The little girl in front of her heard me and said, "I gave that candy to her this morning." RE-GIFTER!!

- Before our party started, I asked the kids to write one thing they had learned about Force (our science focus for the past few weeks) on a notecard. One boy wrote, "I lern Force is so good to hos." Somehow managing not to bust out laughing, I asked him to read his sentence to me, and he said, "I learned Force is good to us." Someone really needs to focus on their spelling.

- The holiday party time was very clearly set at 1:00 - 2:45, according to mandate by our principal. Why then, was there a fire drill at 1:30???

- During our party time, my room was where the games were being played. One group was playing a money-related game that apparently was missing some coins. A student came up and told me, "We don't have any sense!" (cents)

- Another boy asked if he could have an empty bottle to play truth or dare. When I asked (for my own curiosity) how one played such a game, he basically explained the game of Spin the Bottle (minus the kissing) to me. Needless to say, I did NOT provide a bottle.

- At 3:05, right as I started calling kids to line up at the door, a child handed me about 20 envelopes with kids' names on them. He told me that another child had brought them and wanted to pass them out. Way to not wait till the last minute. And no, I didn't even get an envelope myself...

Enjoy your time off, and Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Break it down!

'Twas the night before Christmas (Break), and all through the house,
Just one creature was blogging, while using his mouse.

Tomorrow is our last school day before break, day 77 for anyone who is counting. You would think 77 days would be a long enough time period to establish a routine or two, but my kids seem to take the adage "Every day is a NEW day" QUITE literally. Still, we will be having a little bit of a party after lunch tomorrow. Nothing major, just some fun time for games and snacks.

On the way out the door, one girl asked if she could bring Twister. I told her that she could, but not to expect me to play. My body doesn't contort like that anymore -- not that it ever did.

I know that some teachers are still teaching through mid or even ALL of next week. I feel for you, I really do. But hey, at least you will be out of school for longer than I am at the beginning of 2012.

Lastly, please be sure to check out Carol's latest Carnival of Education, where she's listed her 12 favorite bloggers. Look who scored the "Golden Rings" position! WOOT!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Vote for a teacher!

The good folks at Worth Ave. Group are sponsoring a contest to give away a few nice hefty technology grants to America's favorite teachers. Check out their Giveaway page, and see how you can vote for your favorite teacher (or even get yourself nominated!).

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sounds like a Plan

We frequently do word problems in class. And the method that we enforce is called UPSC, which stands for Understand, Plan, Solve, and Check. (We actually say U-P-S-Check) Not that any of the kids will actually USE UPSC on a test, when I'm not physically in the room with them, but it's a pretty darn good solving model.

Today, I was midway through walking the kids through the solution of our word problem, when lunch time arrived. We had already filled out the Understand box, and we had reasoned out whether our initial Plan should be to add or subtract.

In the Plan box, I wrote "Add," followed by the usuals -- "Draw a picture," and "Number sentence." Then I wrote, "Go to lunch," as I announced it was time to eat.

Let's just hope none of the kids actually ever write "Go to lunch" as their plan during a test!