Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Gazillion Dollars

So CPS (Chicago Public Schools) spent a gazillion dollars on this computer program. I'm not sure if "program" is the correct word to use, but that's what I'm calling it. It's actually pretty cool. We now submit our daily attendance on it, we submit our report card grades on it, we can look up our students' test scores and pull up references and worksheets to work on their areas of weakness (based on the aforementioned test scores). Supposedly there are a million other things we can and should do with it, but who can remember all of this...especially when they are 9 months pregnant? I'm just happy I don't have to have an attendance book in which I manually have to count up how many absences and tardies each one of my kids has.

In one respect, this "program" makes life easier. BUT...

At our staff meeting last Wednesday (May 21st), we were informed that we would have to submit our 4th quarter grades on IMPACT (oh, that's the name of this computer program) by today, May 27th. Uh, hello? The last full day of school is June 11. WTF?

The reason is that the "program" needs time to average the grades for each quarter to come up with final grades for the year. Are you kidding me? So something that costs a gazillion dollars needs 2 weeks to do what I can do in 10 minutes for all my students in all the subjects?


Quarter 1: A
Quarter 2: B
Quarter 3: A
Quarter 4: A
Final Grade: A

I'm curious to see what the computer do when it runs into this conundrum that I'm faced with every year:

Quarter 1: B
Quarter 2: A
Quarter 3: B
Quarter 4: A
Final Grade: ??????? (by the way, there are no plusses or minuses)

The program just may explode. Hmmm....maybe that's why it's going to take it 2 weeks.

I just feel bad for my (and all the) students who were told that they have "the rest of the quarter" to raise their grades when they got their progress reports like 2 weeks ago.

Well, whatever...my grades are done and inputted. OH, and that's something ELSE that's dumb. The program that we use to record each individual grade from each assignment (and it averages them for us) is a DIFFERENT program than what we use for report cards. So when I input my grades into IMPACT, I have to have 2 different programs open so I can see what Karim got in Social Studies and type it into the other program.

There are actually many, many more things wrong with this b.s. program, but they're so stupid, I'm just gonna get pissed off.

That's your money hard at work, Chicago!

End of school countdown: 11 school days
Baby countdown: 32 days until due date!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Comments? Questions?

3 things my students said to me today:

1. "Ms. M., a fly landed on my head twice." What does one say to this? Seriously. Someone tell me.
2. "Ms. M., can I pay for my [$5] field trip in dimes?" Are you kidding me? I had to say yes. This kid is pooooor. So, yes, I accepted 50 dimes. Ugh.
3. "We don't have a garbage can." This was in response to an assignment I gave them to record anything that their family throws away in their home's "busiest" garbage can for a unit on conservation. It never occurred to me that a home would not have a garbage can.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I got a haircut this weekend. A pretty substantial one at that, like 5 inches cut off. With a drastic cut like this, one is sure to receive comments like, "Hey, you got your hair cut!" (I never know what to say to this). Anyway, when working with kids, one is bound to receive less innocuous comments. Here's the first exchange of the day:

H: "Ms. M, WHY did you cut your hair????"

Me: "Well, I just needed a change."

H: "But WHHHHY? You don't even look like a teacher anymore!"

Me: "What does that mean?"

H: "I don't know. You just don't. You shouldn't have cut it!"

Me: "I'm not worried. It'll grow back."

H: "I hope so!"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another Reading Response from R.

If you don't know what Reading Responses are, you need to click here.

Dear Ms. M,

I just finished Ripley's Birds of Prey by Richie Chevat. I read about vultures and owls and found out they're both gross. I knew vultures were gross, eating anything that's dead, but owls??? Owls eat their own poop (pellets) and live underground and they look like blood! Yuck.


[I have no idea what he means when he says "they look like blood." Anyone?]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life 1 and Life 2

I overheard 2 of my students speaking yesterday:

H: "...yeah, my mom says that in her 'other life' she..."

A: "Oh, you mean before you were born?"

H: "Yeah..."

A: "My mom says that, too!"

I guess this is a good lesson for a mom-to-be, huh? Only 7 weeks left of Life 1.