Saturday, April 19, 2014

Week of April 21, 2014

Greetings from Fuddle River Schools. The board held its regular monthly meeting this week.

The board responded to the U. S. Department of Education's report that most American students have little understanding of civics. The board, stressing the importance of citizenship knowledge and skills in a democracy, agreed unanimously to press for improvements in civic education.

The board approved plans to write to the Mister of Education in Washington to request more funds for civic education. The board will also lobby the federal assembly and contact state aldermen. The board then made plans to try to get the Supreme Court to pass some legislation and to ask the king to change the U. S. Constitution so that there is more money available for civic education.

The rest of the meeting was concerned with district personnel issues. The board approved the following personnel items:

Resigned: Ethel Crusteen, FRMS

Resigned to the Way Things Are: Ralph Lipton, FRHS; Cynthia Newberg, FRES

Sticking it Out for One More Year: Harlan Thorton, FRMS

Dragged Out Kicking and Screaming: Jan Arundahl, FRES

Hanging by a Thread: Mark Stewart, FRHS

Leave of Absence: Fran Grunwald, FRES

Absent Without Leave: Trudy Ramstad, FRHS

Won't Leave: Cheryl Powell, FRES

Unrequested Leave of Absence: Georgia Hamel, FRMS

Unrequested Presence: Hal Bjorkland, FRHS

Appointed: Maria Torres, FRMS

Disappointed: Grant Werner, FRES

Reassigned: Ann Newman, FRHS

Misassigned: Vic Zenmer, FRES

Non-renewed: Fred Denton, FRMS

Accidentally Renewed: Dennis Haskins, FRHS

Terminated: Clint Gorter, DIST

Committed: Sarah Terkel, FRMS

Out to Lunch: Yvette Rankin, FRES

Okay, Ms Paulsen is gone for a minute, so it's time for another time-off-task meeting. It looks like our numbers have fallen again for the third week in a row.

I am very disappointed. How are we going to avoid learning if you all are not giving a hundred and ten percent? Let's go over our goals and tactics one more time.

When you are talking while the teacher is talking and the teacher asks you to be quiet, remember our goals. We want at least 50% of our class time to be off-task. So if the teacher tells you to be quiet, you don't just stop talking.

Remember, never take responsibility for your own behavior. Deflect. The proper response is, "Hey, I'm not the only one talking." That can be followed with, "Why are you always picking on me?" or "Why don't you say something to Rebecca? She's always talking." By the way, Rebecca, solid numbers this month. Keep up the good non-work.

If we just take responsibility and stop talking, we are sending the wrong message. Every redirection to get back on task must result in some kind of stalling argument or deflection. Don't forget, even a simple denial is worth at least two minutes.

Also, when the teacher tells the class to be quiet, I want to hear more across-class shushing. Phil, you start. Tell someone - anyone - across the room to be quiet. And what is the proper response, class? That's right, "You be quiet." And then Phil says, "No, you be quiet." And we go back and forth at least 34 times.

I also need to see more of you out of your seats. What, are we getting lazy? Would you rather be working? Everyone has to get up and about more. I want to see lots more pencil sharpening, window gazing, and wastebasket runs. There should be at least three of us up at any given time. And, please, remember not to return to your assigned seat. Sit somewhere else. Make the teacher work to maintain that seating chart order. And remember, if the teacher tells you to sit down in your assigned seat, what do you say? That's right, Marcus, "I'm not the only one out of my seat." Or, "Why are you always picking on me?" or "Why don't you say something to Rebecca? She's always out of her seat." Rebecca, you are our star.

Remember, deflect, deny, and never take responsibility for your own behavior. Except when it comes to working to keep us off-task. I'm looking at the numbers here, and I am expecting a lot more from some of you. It's time to step up to plate, folks.

Okay, get ready. Here she comes… Hey, I'm not the only one out of my seat…

How Do You Spend Your Time?
If you added up all of the time spent on non-teaching activities, and separated the time spent on each into eight-hour days, you would find that over a thirty-year teaching career you would have spent:

- Five months telling students to get to work

- Fifty-six days telling students to sit down

- Eleven days waiting for a student to finish sharpening a pencil

- Five months taking attendance

- Almost two years sitting in meetings

- Eleven days waking sleeping students

- Twenty-two days rearranging the desks

- Nine days saying "no"

- A month passing out papers

- Three weeks collecting papers

- Four weeks listening to morning announcements

- Two weeks reminding students that the period is not over yet

- Two months redirecting inappropriate student behavior

- Six months reading memos, completing surveys, and doing other paperwork

- Twenty days writing hall passes

- Seven months wondering what happened to the students with the hall passes

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Week of April 14, 2014

Greetings from Fuddle River Schools. Last week, the eighth-graders at the middle school took the state basic standards test. A big pre-test breakfast and pep fest was organized by district administrators to energize the students to do well on these all-important tests. Passing the state basic standards tests is a prerequisite for high school graduation in our state, and those who do not pass the tests will have to take remedial classes throughout their high school years. In addition, the outcomes of the state tests are public information and the reputation of the school district depends on a good showing by our students.

Testing day started with a full breakfast of eggs, pancakes, fruit, and juice in the middle school cafeteria. The breakfast was followed by a pep fest in the middle school gymnasium. As the students arrived, each was given a free pencil to use on the tests. The board wishes to thank Evergreen Insurance Agency for the pencils. A student band, Norm and the Standard Deviants, played a lively introduction to the pep fest and students were greeted by Superintendent Gokey and members of the school board.

Dr. Gokey then gave a lively talk to encourage students to do their best on these important tests. He then did a long demonstration on the overhead projector showing how to fill in dots on the test answer sheets.

Unfortunately, several students in the top rows of the bleachers dozed off during Gokey's talk and fell forward, causing an avalanche of students that resulted in injuries to students sitting on the bottom row of the bleachers. Fourteen honor roll students, who were to be formally recognized at the pep fest, were taken by ambulance to Fuddle River Regional Hospital.

After the students all returned to their seats in the bleachers, the student band Incomplete Erasures played a lively tune while student council members did a test-taking demonstration using test sample questions.

At that point, it became clear that many of the students in the gymnasium were not feeling well. Middle school principal Arlene Marlene had the band stop playing, but it was not the music that was causing the illnesses. The county health department determined later that the pre-test breakfast was the cause of over 200 student cases of food-borne illness.

After many students were removed from the gymnasium and a quick clean up was completed, the student band Pencils Down played a rousing recessional as principal Marlene excused the students to their classrooms for the tests.

Just then it was determined that the free pencils given to the students were not #2 pencils - they were #4 pencils. Marks made with #4 pencils cannot be read accurately by state test scoring machines. A near riot ensued when building teachers and administrators tried to confiscate the pencils from the students. Again, the board wishes to thank Evergreen Insurance Agency for the pencils.

Eventually, and with only minor injuries and less than twenty arrests, order was restored. Except for the students who were arrested, and those who had been hospitalized for avalanche injuries, and those who had been excused because of food poisoning, and those being treated for pencil riot-related injuries, all the eighth-graders completed the tests in their classrooms.

The state released early results from the test this week, and for some reason, the scores for our district have not been encouraging. The board is at a loss to explain the disappointing results and they will meet next week to determine how they can hold the middle school teachers accountable for the low test scores.

And that's it this week from Fuddle River Schools.

Top Ten Signs of Spring

10. Students spot the first robin of spring and chase if off the playground with sticks.

9. Your textbooks started disappearing the same day you started opening the windows again.

8. The school graffiti vandals have switched to bright pastel colors.

7. Turned-in homework has slowed from a dribble to a drip.

6. The students don't grimace when you mention recess anymore.

5. The students have stopped praying for snow days.

4. The heater in your room that wouldn't go on has finally been fixed by the district. Now it won't go off.

3. The mold in the faculty lunch room is starting to bloom.

2. Your students have switched from being bored and lazy to being distracted and disruptive.

1. Everyone in your building knows how exactly many days of school are left.

"Discipline for All" Teaching Script

Note: Congratulations for choosing "Discipline for All" for your school behavior plan. We are sure you will be pleased with the proven, award-winning "Discipline for All" program and the specially scripted lessons that are the heart of the program.

Before using this first discipline script, you will need to re-name each of your most disruptive students "Timmy." While there will be some confusion concerning which Timmy you are addressing during the lesson, re-naming in this manner will allow you to get the most out of this lesson script. You will also want to re-name all your best behaving students "Jamie."

Say: "Good morning, class. Today we are going to learn how we should behave in class."

Say: "Timmy, please be seated like the rest of the students."

Say: "I like the way Jamie is sitting in her seat."

Say: "Yes, Jamie, do you have a question?"

Say: "No, Jamie, I don't think you are an idiot. You are just my good example."

Say: "Okay, Jamie, I will stop using you as my good example, and yes, I will protect you from all the Timmies after class."

Say: "Timmy, we don't use those kinds of words in our classroom."

Say: "No, I don't mean adjectives. You can use adjectives in class - just not that one."

Say: "Okay, you can't use that adjective either. Or that one. And that's a bad noun. Enough, Timmy! Let's move on."

Ask: "Can anyone identify for me the three most important "Discipline for All" classroom rules?"

Say: "Timmy, I don't think you want to eat that."

Say: "I'm going to turn my back to the class and try to write the three most important classroom rules on the board."

Say: "I saw that, Timmy."

Say: "Yes, I do have eyes in the back of my head."

Say: "I am going to ask Jamie, here, to write the rules on the board."

Say: "Timmy, please don't throw that at Jamie."

Say: "I really didn't want you to throw it at another Timmy either."

Say: "You Timmies stop fighting!"

Say: "And you other Timmies stay out of this!"

Say: "Yes, Jamie, if I were you I would like to get out of this class too."

Say: "Perhaps all the Jamies would like to leave the class and apply for asylum in another classroom."

Say: "Okay, with the Jamies gone, now it's just me and you twenty-three Timmies."

Say: "If I can have your attention, I would like to go over the three most important "Discipline for All" classroom rules. Please, I need your attention - I do think you'll like this."

Say: "The three rules are Lincoln, Hamilton, and Jackson."

Say: "Timmy, I'll give you a Jackson - that's twenty bucks - if you will please stop hurting that other Timmy."

Say: "Timmy, I'll give you a Hamilton if you will please stop throwing those text books at me."

Say: "And Timmy, I'll give you a Lincoln if you will just sit down in your seat like a Jamie."

Say: "I did not say you were a Jamie. I just wanted you to sit like one - and you know I don't like that noun.

Say: Okay, here - two Hamiltons just to be quiet.

Say: "I sure do like the way Timmy is sitting in his seat…"

Note: Stacks of five, ten, and twenty dollar bills are included in the "Discipline for All" Resource Kit and more can be ordered online from

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Week of April 7, 2014

Greetings from Fuddle River Schools. The board held its regular meeting this week. The board formally approved the appointment of Leonard Falkus to the newly created position of District Hedgemaster. As District Hedgemaster, Mr. Falkus will be responsible for keeping abreast of all of the new policies and regulations being considered by the state. In addition, Mr. Falkus will create action plans for new state policies and regulations that have been approved, but are not yet in force. Mr. Falkus' primary responsibility is to follow each new policy and regulation until state leaders change their minds - as they typically do. The District Hedgemaster is to keep an eye on the horizon while the rest of the district carries on the same as always. According to board member Fred Furnley, "This is a great idea. We've been burned far too many times by the state. In the past, we've put all kinds of resources into implementing programs with which the state later lost all interest. The District Hedgemaster position allows the rest of us to adopt the 'ignore it and it will just go away' approach and I've always thought that was the best approach for dealing with school reform anyway."

High School Principal Hugh Batson reported to the board on the high school's new policy regarding appropriate conversation in the school's teachers' lounge. Batson had heard from several teachers at the high school who complained that the conversation in the lounge was negative and depressing. Some teachers reported avoiding the lounge altogether to avoid the negative feelings there. In response, Batson implemented a policy that outlines appropriate topics for conversation in the lounge. Batson summarized the policy for the board with the following points:

o Teachers may discuss the weather, but only if it is a nice day.

o Teachers may discuss food, recipes, hobbies, and crafts.

o Teachers may not discuss the news because so much of it is negative.

o Teachers may not discuss school or district policies and initiatives.

o Teachers may not mention students by name and may only discuss students in a positive way.

o Teachers may not mention faculty by name and may only discuss faculty in a positive way.

o Teachers may not talk about school and district administration at all.

Batson reports that lounge conversations have been much more positive and appropriate. The two teachers who still use the lounge have had no complaints. Batson is now looking into expanding his appropriate conversation policy to the copy room, the hallways, as well as the school's offices and classrooms.

When asked what the faculty thought of this new policy, Batson stated that he preferred not to discuss something so negative. Batson concluded his comments with, "Nice day, huh? A lot less humid. Well, if there are no other questions, I'll be going. I have a quilt to finish and I'm trying a new tuna recipe tonight."

And that's it this week from Fuddle River Schools.

Top Ten Supplies for State Test Day

10. Plenty of bottled water to keep the students hydrated

9. Plenty of Pull-Ups and Depends undergarments for those who get over-hydrated

8. A new multiple-choice Magic Eight-Ball for each student

7. A coin for each student for flipping

6. Horse racing blinkers and blinders to keep students from cheating

5. Ibuprofen for the temporary relief of pain associated with brain cramping

4. Healthy snacks of fruit and nuts

3. Earplugs to muffle the gastric consequences of healthy snacks of fruit and nuts

2. Scratch paper for teachers to crumple and toss at the students who doze off while reading boring text passages

1. Scratch paper for students to crumple and toss at teachers who doze off while proctoring the test

18 Signs You're Getting Too Old for This

18. Taking attendance leaves you totally winded.

17. All of your most recent pop culture references are from the 1970's.

16. You've developed those "stern teacher look" lines around your eyes and mouth.

15. When you walk around the room, your creaking, clicking joints disrupt the class.

14. You've assigned each student one of your skin moles to keep an eye on.

13. You know for a fact that this is the fourth time around for the newest big education innovation.

12. The clothes you wear to teach have come back into style.

11. You can convince yourself that your students are well-behaved by simply adjusting your hearing aid.

10. Your daytime naps are getting longer and more frequent. Yesterday you slept through half of the third and fifth periods and you missed the bell at the end of the day altogether.

9. You throw your back out grading papers.

8. Now even the lunch you bring from home disagrees with you.

7. You use the bathroom pass more than your students do.

6. You keep forgetting where you left your classroom.

5. The last time you sat in a student desk, four fire fighters and two paramedics had to use the "jaws of life" to get you out of it.

4. In some classes, you can actually feel your hair graying.

3. Your new eyeglasses prescription is for pentafocals.

2. You keep confusing your students' first names with those of their parents.

1. Students keep asking when you are going to take your senior skip day.