Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Good stuff. Well, mostly.

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As many of you know I’ve decided to run for the Paint Valley Board of Education. As of a few days ago my petition was approved and I’ll be on the ballot. There are four people running for two open positions. The incumbents are Justin Immell and Deric Newland, who were both appointed, and they are being challenged by Blake Lloyd and myself, Dave Shoemaker.

I’m running because I care about our community. I care about our school. I care about our kids. I have a deep love for Paint Valley, and I’ve had it for the large majority of my life. I attended school in the Paint Valley district from 1st Grade until the day I graduated high school. I came back and taught in grades 5 through 8 from 1990 until 2013, coached varsity basketball from 1988 to 1996, then was asked to return and coached again from 2012 to 2018. I am the all-time winningest coach in Paint Valley basketball history, and I’m extremely proud of that. In addition, I served as the high school Athletic Director from 1996 until 2007 and was involved in the renovation of our facilities. I’ve also been a substitute teacher in the district from 2013 to the present. All-in-all I’ve been involved in education as a teacher/coach/athletic director/substitute for over 35-years, and 28 of those years have been spent serving the Paint Valley District proudly.

Much of my family has been involved in education, many at Paint Valley. My late mother Kathryn and my late sister Karen taught there, and my late friend and brother-in-law Don “Jigger” Anderson was a beloved principal at our school for 17-years. I was heavily influenced by all of them. I have several relatives who are educators too – Army, Mike, Todd, Josh, Angie, Linda, Rex, Deb, Lori, Terry, Cindy, Laura, and a few I’m sure I’m forgetting. Many of those I mentioned taught at Paint Valley, and countless former students and players of mine have chosen education as a profession  Many are administrators.

I’ve taught and coached thousands of Paint Valley students and athletes. I developed close relationships with many of them and have maintained many to this day. I still have close relationships with many on the teaching staff at Paint Valley as well as some of the administrators and support staffs. I know, appreciate and understand our district’s needs, and I understand how to open lines of communication between the school and community.

As a Paint Valley School Board member I believe communication between the school and community is crucial. Transparency, openness and honesty should be priorities. Community involvement and input is key. After all, it’s your school. A school board member shouldn’t have personal priorities or agendas, nor should they have axes to grind. They shouldn’t micro-manage or try and make decisions they’re not qualified to make. They should let the professionals do their jobs, becoming involved only when the welfare of our students and staff are in question.

And they should always, without fail, exhibit a dedicated commitment to the Paint Valley students, parents, teaching staff, support staff and community.

I care deeply for Paint Valley. To me, the right to be a school board member in a district I love is something I would consider an honor.

And that, members of the Paint Valley community, is why I’m running.

Listen, I have a soft spot for the 80s. Why, you ask? Because I started teaching in 1984 and I swear to God everyone in my Junior High classes dressed like Molly Ringwald, Ferris Bueller or Cyndi Lauper. Big hair, spandex, leg warmers, ripped jeans (yes, they existed in the 80s), neon colors, mullets, side ponytails, cut-off sweatshirts, cool hats on the girls, sweat pants rolled up to the knees, skinny ties, they were all on exhibit in the hallowed halls of Greenfield Middle School. It was glorious, man.

With that in mind I came up with the ultimate 1980s trivia quiz, designed specifically for those students I personally taught.*

*I use the term “taught” loosely.

Let us begin. Answers will be revealed in due time, so chillax.

  1. What alternative band did the students of Greenfield Middle School learn about long before they hit it big in the early 90s?
  2. What was the name of Punky Brewster’s dog?
  3. What was the name of the oldest child on The Cosby Show?
  4. What was Jolt?
  5. What popular toy did E.T. use as part of his makeshift communicator to “phone home” with?
  6. Who starred in “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’d Dead”?
  7. What was the name of He-Man’s home planet?
  8. What was Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign all about?
  9. Who hosted Star Search?
  10. Name all five Breakfast Club characters.
  11. Who was Balki and where was he from?
  12. What was Jem?
  13. Name 5 singers who performed on the song “We Are the World”.
  14. Who was Teddy Ruxpin?
  15. What was Melmac?
  16. What kind of animal was Bubbles?
  17. What happened to a space shuttle called Challenger?
  18. What was the Noid?
  19. Who was Samantha’s crush in Sixteen Candles”?
  20. What was the name of the pirate ship the gang discovers in The Goonies?
  21. Who was the main villain in Thundercats?
  22. What singer made a video with a cartoon cat?
  23. What was the video game Oregon Trail all about?
  24. Who was Mac Tonight?
  25. Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was “cool but rude”?
  26. In which movie did a character wear a t-shirt that read “what are looking at dicknose”?
  27. What do you have to fight for your right to do?
  28. In what show was Alex P. Keaton the main character?
  29. What TV show was based in southern Florida and featured Crockett and Tubbs?
  30. Describe a scrunchie.
  31. ‘Where’s the beef?” was a slogan for what fast food chain?
  32. Who sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”?
  33. What was a Boom Box?
  34. Who said, “Follow my nose”?
  35. Who was John Hughes?
  36. What do the initials NKOTB stand for?
  37. Who was Martha Quinn?
  38. What was the green goop on Nickelodeon called?
  39. Who were “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, B. A. Baracus, John “Hannibal” Smith and Templeton “Faceman” Peck?
  40. Neil Patrick Harris played genius who became a doctor at 16. What was his name?

So, how many do you think you got right?

Bonus 80s video! Fun fact: My guy Steve Forbert plays Cyndi’s boyfriend in this video. Awesome.

 

My late sister Karen was one of the most amazing teachers I ever knew. She taught elementary school for 30-years and influenced the lives of thousands of students and fellow teachers. With all her experience came a lot of stories, and like me she enjoyed telling (and retelling) them. I was subbing at a local school yesterday, we had a tornado drill, and while standing outside with the students I was reminded of this one. I hope you like it . . .

It was during one of Sis’s early years in education and she was teaching 3rd Grade. Like most young teachers, Sis always attempted to do things the right way and build a good reputation for herself. Almost always, she did.

Almost always.

Not on this day though. You see, she was in front of her class going over something when the alarm went off, indicating a school safety drill was in progress.

Fire drill!

Sis knew the procedure. She immediately grabbed her grade book and whatever else teachers are supposed to take with them and calmly told her class to follow her outside.

Her class was at the end of the hallway, so all they had to do was exit the classroom, make a right, and go straight outside to their proper location, far away from the school and to relative safety. As they were calmly but briskly walking, one of Sis’s students ran from his spot in the line to come up and tug on her sleeve.

Mrs. Anderson! MRS. ANDERSON!”

“Bobby, be quiet! It’s fine! It’s only a drill. Don’t be afraid!”

“But Mrs. Ander . . .”

“Shhhhh! Go back and get in line!”

Bobby did. Reluctantly.

Once they got situated and Sis was going down the line counting heads, Bobby once again spoke up when she got to him.

“Mrs. Ander . . .”

“Bobby! What did I tell you? Everything’s fine! We’ll talk when we get back inside.”

“But . . “

“Shhhhhhh!”

Thankfully everyone was in line and accounted for, and Sis went back to her spot at the head of the line. There was one problem though- where were the other classes?

Did Sis take her class out the wrong door? Should they be on the other side of the school? What was happening? And then . . .

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a kid lean forward and pop his head out of the line towards her. It was Bobby.

“Mrs. Anderson, I think this is a tornado drill.”

Yes, my sister had taken her class outside during a tornado drill, which couldn’t be more opposite of what you should do.

Oops.

Needless to say she then gave her class orders to hustle back in the building, on the double if you will.

Luckily she had an understanding principal and they got a good laugh about it later. She was also lucky that, you know, there wasn’t an actual tornado.

The moral of the story? When one of your students is really trying to tell you something, you should probably listen.

Note- We teased Sis about this for years with lines like, “There might be a fire drill tomorrow. Don’t forget to take your kids and gather around the fuel tanks.” Good times.

Sadly understandable.

So school was cancelled again today at many schools in southern Ohio, this time because of water I guess? Anyway, it seems like school gets cancelled more and more often these days. It can be too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too whatever. Not sure what changed over the years, but it sure seems like we’ve become softer, doesn’t it? With that in mind, let’s take a look at what it’s like to attend school in Finland. These photos were taken during a normal school day where the temperature was a balmy 15°. As you can see, students in Finland are not deterred by a little cold weather or snow on the ground. Out of 1200 kids at this school, 1000 arrive by bicycle, 100 to 150 walk, and the rest travel by skiing or on kicksleds. I’m assuming they have recess outside, play shirts and skins basketball and skin a moose during Biology class. Anywho, kids in Finland? Badasses.

PS- Those kicksleds look cool as hell, man.

Meet Ace Davis, a 10-year-old kid from Lexington, Kentucky who created a science fair project about Tom Brady. While kids in New England might be trying to figure out how to scientifically prove that Brady is the greatest quarterback who ever lived, Ace decided to go in a different direction. He created a science fair project that proves that Brady is a cheater.

Ace sought to prove that Brady was a cheater through science. He wanted to show that deflated footballs gave Brady a competitive advantage. On his poster, he included the results of experiments he did with his mom and sister. Each of them threw footballs of varying inflation, and he measured the distance of each one and calculated the average. He found that the least inflated football traveled the farthest, therefore giving Brady a competitive advantage.

Of course, he included more than that on his poster. He used a Brady Deflategate meme, a picture of Brady crying, and a picture of Brady making a very weird face.

Ace won his Science Fair and is advancing to the Districts. When asked how he thinks he’ll do there he replied, “I’m gonna win that too.” He was then asked what he’d like to say to Brady. Ace’s response?

“Give me some of your money. You don’t deserve it.”

Damn Ace. Hate Brady much?

Anyway, hell yes Ace Davis proved Tom Brady’s a cheater. Ace is out there fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Dude’s the damn superhero we all need right now, and if winning a Science Fair in Lexington, Kentucky isn’t proof that Touchdown Tawmy’s a cheater I don’t know what is. That’s just Science. Literally. The referees and the NFL won’t stand up to Brady, but you know who will? Ace Davis, that’s who, the kid who’s advancing to the Districts with intentions of winning the whole damn thing.

PS- Those quotes from Ace is pure gold. GOLD.

 

Listen, everyone knows I love teaching. I loved it from the first day I walked into Greenfield Middle School in late August, 1984 until the day I retired. Actually, I still do. I’m a substitute teacher at several area schools in both Middle School and High School and it’s been a pleasure getting to know kids from other districts.

That said, getting to know so many kids (who grow into adults) over a 33-year period does have its negatives from time-to-time. What you’re about to hear is one of those times.

Awhile back I went in for a colonoscopy. You know, the endoscopic examination where they go in with a camera and check out your colon and stuff to make sure everything is as it should be. Without being too graphic, they lube you up, enter the colon exactly where you’d expect them to, and just shove that tube thingy with the camera on it right up in there to have a look-see.*

*It just occurred to me that virtually everybody knows what a colonoscopy is. I’m so sorry right now.

So they roll me into my room and I shoot the breeze with the male nurse for a bit. Turns out he was a basketball fan who recognized me. This felt a little awkward, since if I had my druthers I’d prefer going through this whole deal with people I didn’t know, ya know? I mean, it is sort of an invasive area of the human body for people to be messing with, even if you know they’re trained professionals and whatnot.

It was my first procedure of this kind so I was a little apprehensive but not really. I mean, I knew they’d knock me out and I wouldn’t feel a thing. Easy peasy, man. Just give me a sedative and wake me up when it’s over.

Except j-u-s-t after the anesthesiologist gave me the sedative but well before I was under, the doc and a nurse came in to perform the deed. They were behind me of course, and it was then I hear these words from said nurse:

“Mr. Shoe! Hey, it’s MR. SHOE!

Oh good Lord. The nurse had been a student of mine. Not exactly what I wanted to hear as I just as I entered the Land of Nod.

Like I said, sometimes having a lot of former students isn’t a good thing.

That said, it all worked out in the end.*

*Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

PS- If you liked this one you’ll love my soon to be published comprehensive masterpiece regarding my last prostate exam. Good times.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Soddy-Daisy High School’s athletic director Jared Hensley. Listen, I’m about as non-PC as they come, bit this guy is nuts. I was trying my best to believe the guy might be joking, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t sound serious as hell. How in the world would he ever think this is OK to say in 2018? I mean, I’ve known some dumb administrators, but . . . never mind, just watch.

So damn true. Here are 20 teacher memes for your perusal.

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is a blog whose time has come. It has to be done. Our future, and may I say the fate of humanity, depends on it. What am I talking about, you ask?

The death of grammar. Or rather, the DEATH OF GRAMMAR.

I don’t know, that just seemed to warrant all caps. It’s that important, man. What you’re about to read are a few basic, simple guidelines to using correct grammar. I shall focus on the rules that seem to be broken most often. Let us begin . . .

You’re vs. Your

You’re means “you are.” So, when you say, “You’re sweater is cute” you are incorrect. The correct usage would be “You’re not going to eat those cheese doodles are you? Your means that something belongs to you. So don’t say, “Hey, your welcome to some of my cheese doodles.” That would be incorrect. Instead you would use it as such: “Your cheese doodles look delicious.” See? This is easy. Stay with me kids.

They’re vs. Their vs. There

They’re means “they are” as in “Have you tried my cheese doodles? They’re really good.” Their, however, means it belongs to them, as in “The Dungworth’s keep their cheese doodles in the pantry.” Incorrect usage would be something along the lines of, “I love cheese doodles. Their delicious.” Don’t do that. Want to know about there? OK. There refers to a place, an example being, “My cheese doodles are in my top drawer. Don’t go there.” Please tell me you’re taking notes.

We’re vs. Were

We’re means “we are” and should be used like this: “We’re all having cheese doodles for lunch!” Were, however, is the past tense of are, as in “Wally and Mildred were dating for awhile, but Wally was addicted to cheese doodles. Now they are dating other people.” Get it?

Random thought. Should cheese doodles be capitalized?*

*It should not. I checked.

Then vs. Than

Listen carefully. Then is a point in time, as in “I went to a store to buy cheese doodles, then I went to another store to buy more cheese doodles.” Than, however, is a method of comparison, as in, “I know you love cheese doodles but I love them more than you do.” See? I was comparing our love of cheese doodles.

Two vs. To vs. Too

This is a really easy one. You see, two is simply a number. The number 2, as in “I bought two bags of cheese doodles but I should’ve bought three.” On the other hand, to indicates motion, as in “Hank Moffit is going to the cheese doodle store.” Too can mean either also or excessively, as in “Hey, I like cheese doodles too!” Or, “I love cheese doodles way too much.” Make sense? Good.

Set vs. Sit

The verb set requires an object, like let’s say, oh, a bag of cheese doodles. “Larry set the bag of cheese doodles on the table and his dog Norman took them.” On the other hand, sit doesn’t require a direct object, instead it’s something you do, like when you sit on a couch. Woot! Easy, man. You got this.

Lay vs. Lie

Lay requires an object. To lay is to set or place something in a resting position. Lie does not require an object. So, you lay a bag of cheese doodles on the counter, but you lie down on the couch. Get it? Good.

Note: Remember the Eric Clapton song “Lay Down Sally”? It should’ve been called “Lie Down Sally.” Also, the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s song “Lay Lady Lay” should actually be “Lie lady lie, lie across my big brass bed.” True story. It also gets confusing because lie can also mean a falsehood. It’s a mad world I tell ya.

Seen vs. Saw

This one seems to be common for some reason. Saw is the past tense of the verb see, and usually comes immediately after nouns and pronouns. Example: “Charlie saw a bag of cheese doodles.” On the other hand, the word seen can’t stand alone. It needs another verb like has or had to help it out, unlike saw. Check out this sentence: “Charlie has seen many cheese doodles, but none like the cheese doodles he saw today.” So to review, saw is usually used after nouns and pronouns, and seen is used with a buddy word like have, has, had, was, or were.

Whose vs. Who’s

This one is simple. Who’s is a contraction of who and is, as in “Who’s hungry for cheese doodles?” Whose is a possessive pronoun, and you use it when you’re asking or telling whom something belongs to. Example: “Whose cheese doodles are these?” So, who’s = who is and whose = Possessive of Who. Done dizzle.

Its vs. It’s

Again, simple. This one gets mixed-up because an apostrophe often indicates possession, but it’s is a contraction for it is. Its is a possessive pronoun and might be used like this: “The cheese doodle and its glorious golden hue were a sight to behold.” See? The cheese doodle possessed a golden hue, thus the use of the word its.

Lose vs. Loose

Another really simple one that there is no excuse for screwing up. You lose a bag of cheese doodles. Your cows get loose. Good Lord.

Good vs. Well

All you need to remember is that good modifies a person, place, or thing, and well modifies an action. If you’re having a good day, then your day is going well. Technically, “I’m good” or “You did good” is poor grammar. It should be “You did well.” I’ve actually heard grammar Nazis respond to that one with “How good are you?” Anyway, sorry everyone including me. I mess that one up all the time.

Using Apostrophes to Make Words Plural

I see this all the time as well. For some reason people seem to think that you should use an apostrophe to make a word plural. You do not. “My son Ethan won three trophy’s at the fair” is incorrect. Just add an S, man.

The Unnecessary “At”

Heard all over Southern Ohio and beyond: “Where you at?” You don’t need the “at” kids! Try “Where are you?” It will do just fine! Free your soul of the unnecessary at! You can do this!

Honestly, these mistakes probably bother me the most when I see educators do it. Come on, teachers. You’re better than that. Clean it up.

And hey, before you start correcting all the mistakes I’ve made in this blog please understand I know I’m far from perfect. I make plenty of mistakes too.

PS- Before you message me, I’m pretty sure I violated several uses of quotation marks during this blog. So sue me.

PPS- “So sue me” isn’t a complete sentence. I know this. I’m allowed to use something called Creative and Artistic License, man. Chill.

***BONUS BLOG ALERT***

It’s “I couldn’t care less.” “I could care less” means you probably do actually care.

“Literally” means it actually happened. If you say, “I literally shit my pants” you shit your pants.

“Affect” is a verb. “Effect” is a noun.

“Irregardless” is not a word. 

Thank you and goodnight.

So true.

CBS Boston – Julia Hartwell loves her dolls, arts and crafts, and like most four-year-olds, she has a best friend. However, that’s not a term Julia can use at Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown. Her mother, Christine Hartwell, says, “The teacher told her she couldn’t say that in school.”

The Georgetown preschool offered an explanation to Julia’s parents, saying the term best friend “can lead other children to feel excluded” and it “can ultimately lead to the formation of “cliques” and “outsiders.” The preschool wrote, they “encourage children to have a broader group of friends, and foster inclusion at this particular age.”

Oh, for the love of God. Now the schools are telling our kids they can’t have “best friends.” Hey, I met my best friend Dave Allen in second grade and we remain best friends today. Sure, he’s a highfalutin (that’s how you spell it, I looked it up so shut it) doctor in the big city who only sees me at his convenience, but still.*

My point is, who in the hell can tell us who our friends are? Answer: Nobody. If you have no friends you need to take a look in the mirror, amirite? Newsflash: Everyone is not popular in preschool. Some are better at coloring, others are really good at somersaults or counting or drawing circles and stuff. Figure it out, man. Carve out your niche. Learn how to make friends without your damn school’s help. Sad really. Get it together, America!

*Just kidding, J.R.

A teacher’s life is stressful, man. Also exhilarating. Hey, the highs outweigh the lows but sometimes you have to shake things up a little to keep it fresh, ya know? My students have many a story of my wacky antics. Anywho, check out these photos of some times when teachers went a little overboard. Classic stuff.

Apparently Jerry and Robby have been causing some problems.

This, my friends, is what the kids call a sick burn. Throwing shade if you will. Any way you look at it, I’m pretty sure this kid got an F-.

That’s a little petty. And by petty I mean awesome.

This will remind some of my students of something I did at Twin back in the early 90s.

They got Rick-Rolled!

This is actually a photo of the teacher taped to his window. Diabolical. Also genius.

What would you do?

People kept stealing calculators. It was the only appropriate response, really.

Just a brutal attack on the cesspool of morons at Virginia Western. On a related note, they totally deserved it.

I also had a skeleton in class. When you think about it, everyone has skeletons in class, they’re just covered in skin and stuff. I’ll shut up now.

Classic move by band director’s here. They must teach it at band college or something.

Hardcore teacher here. Dude does NOT bend.

Do not be late or you will suffer the wrath of Professor Schmedlap.

As seen on a teacher’s laptop. Pretty normal folders for most educators.

Bro, you missed the first class? You deserved this. Good luck with the Red Pandas.

This reminds me of a story involving my son, which I shall not recount here. Anyway, enjoy . . .

Every teacher I know has experienced tough classes, those groups that were a little more difficult than others. One particular year I had a really troublesome group, and to make matters worse I had them the last period of the day. Any teacher will tell you that having a demanding group of kids at the end of the day is never a good combination.

Anyway, one year I had one such group, and when I say they were bad I mean bad. I had to constantly stay on top of them or the class would spiral into total chaos. There were one or two boys in particular that the rest of the class sort of fed off of, and it was just a difficult group to deal with all-around.

The year I had this particular class I was teaching Social Studies, and for the few years prior I’d been a part of our local Junior Achievement program, where local business men or women would come in and teach a class once a week for 8-weeks. They’d be given a lesson plan from the Junior Achievement folks and apply their knowledge and experience in teaching the class. As luck would have it, the Junior Achievement class was assigned to my last period.

Uh-oh.

Whatever poor schmuck was assigned to my class was in for a terrifyingly enlightening experience. Hell, I had some problems with this group and I rarely had problems with any class. There was simply no way this could end well.

Could the situation get any worse? Turns out it could. The businessman assigned to my class turned out to be . . . wait for it . . . my 75-year old retired father.

Dad had been the Purchasing Manager at the Mead Corporation for many years, he’d been asked to take part, and the woman running the program thought it would be nice to assign him to my class.

Oh boy. All I could envision was a bunch of 8th grade heathens running roughshod over my poor father. He’d never taught a day in his life and he’d just been handed the worst group of kids I’d ever had as an educator. I mean, I knew my Mom was a badass teacher, but Dad? I was worried.

As for Dad, I tried to warn him but he just sort of chuckled and shrugged it off. I also mentioned to my class that my father would be their Junior Achievement teacher, and they too sort of chuckled and shrugged it off. Man, did I dread seeing Dad walk through my classroom door on that first day. Poor guy was being fed to the lions and he had no idea.

Well, the day finally arrived and as I let Dad into my classroom the kids were, unsurprisingly, laughing and joking as I introduced him. I raised my voice at them and implored them to settle down. And then, my father began to speak . . .

He spoke quietly as he addressed the class. He never asked them to quiet down, never asked them to please pay attention. Incredibly, one by one the kids stopped talking, and one by one they slowly turned around, watched, and listened. There was something about his bearing, his attitude, that had the class in rapt attention.

And I swear to God he never raised his voice once.

Incredibly, this continued for 8-straight classes. Dad had them in the palm of his hand, man. They respected him simply because of the way he carried himself and the way he treated them. And boy, did I learn a lot from watching him.

Sure, teachers can learn a lot from in-services, education classes, and other resources. But I also think a lot of good teachers are simply born with that ability to relate, and to connect, with students. That first day I learned that my father was one of those people.

And I also learned to never, ever underestimate my Dad.

California – Controversy erupts at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom over students chanting “USA.”

It’s a popular way to for students to show pride during sporting events and rallies, but school and district officials are now warning students that the chants could appear inappropriate and intolerant. The chants are now causing chatter campus-wide after school staff brought up the topic to a leadership class.

The school’s principal told students and parents that sometimes “We can communicate an unintended message.” She also said USA chanting is welcome, but it may be best to do it at what she says are appropriate times, like following the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.

The district says there has never been a complaint about USA chants at the high school. Students say there’s likely to be a lot of chanting at this Friday’s football game, where the theme is USA pride.

Well for the love of all that is holy and good WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? We can’t be proud of out country? And who in the world is a USA chant going to offend? The three foreign exchange students from North Korea? The ISIS guy hiding under the bleachers? I’d say no to both because they’re not at the game and if they were we should do it anyway because WE’RE IN THE USA! Sweet Mother of God.

PS- The first person who blames this on wimpy liberals is going to get punched in the throat by this non-wimpy liberal.

(Source) — Elementary school students in one Florida school district are going to find a welcome new – but controversial – policy when they return to school for the 2017-18 school year next month: no traditional homework. They are being asked to do one thing to help them academically: Read for 20 minutes a minute a night. Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 42,000-student Marion County public school district in Florida, said in an interview that she made the decision based on solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students.

Listen, I don’t claim to know the research but it might surprise you to find out I don’t hate this. I know times have changed, but I never gave out much homework when I taught, and when I did I tried to leave time during class so I could help the students out myself. I think some of you parents will agree that there’s nothing worse than trying to help your kid with something you don’t understand yourself. That’s brutal, man. Back in my early years of teaching I knew teachers who would absolutely bury kids with 2-3 hours of homework every night. Made no sense to me. Anyway, that’s how I feel and I’m sticking to it. So there.

PS- After doing some research on this subject I found that this has been a growing trend in education for awhile now. Once again I was a man ahead of his time.

PPS- I’m also pretty sure I was one of the first to use rock music in the classroom during tests and stuff back in 1985. Now John Hopkins University is publishing articles about it. Boom.

ASHWAUBENON— A student wearing a Star Wars mask and costume prompted an evacuation at Ashwaubenon Middle School Thursday morning, May 4th.

Officials say a concerned parent called police after seeing someone walk into the school with dark clothing and a mask.

“There was no legitimate threat at AMS today. It was a misunderstanding where a student wore a Star Wars costume for “May the Fourth Be With You” day. There was no intent of a threat, but the student will be held accountable,” said Ashwaubenon School District said in a Facebook post.

Number one, what kind of a degenerate anti-American Putin-loving communist assclown snitch doesn’t know who Darth Vader is? And why the hell will the kid be “held accountable”? How is showing up on Star Wars Day as Darth Vader wrong? I mean, how does this school expect to deal with Halloween, man? Seriously though, a kid walks into a middle school dressed as Darth Vader and the entire school is evacuated. Never underestimate the power of the Dark Side, huh?

Just an outstanding effort here by the Collin Walker. Little bro didn’t try to get out of school for a day, he went for the entire WEEK. And not only can he stay home, Mrs.Teague has given her permission for him to play video games. Pure freakin’ genius. And the “I am the teacher!” at the end just topped off the masterpiece. Damn it, if he’d only been better at the grammar and spelling thing I think he might’ve pulled it off. Good effort, Collin Walker. Good effort indeed. You gotta dream big, brother.

Yep. Five years today. Hard to believe, really. After months of meticulous and careful planning, conducting arduous interviews while assembling my crack staff, and clearing a myriad of government regulations, we launched Shoe: Untied on an unsuspecting world.

Since that warm, sparkling Spring Day back in 2012 I’ve posted over 5,300 times and have been viewed by citizens from all over the world. For reasons unbeknownst to me, our humble little site is very popular in Belgium and the Philippines. I know, that makes absolutely no sense to me either.

The site has had as many as 300,000 hits in a single day as we’ve covered sports, politics, education, history, kids, animals, music, entertainment, and God knows what else. We’ve posted original writing, weird, funny and outrageous videos, and we’re 87.3% sure Lebron James himself messaged us to defend himself once.

I’ve received death threats and angry messages from racists, nazis, clowns, midgets, Trump supporters, fans of Peter Cetera, the People of Facebook, and angry mothers of high school bowlers.

The other day somebody made the comment on Facebook (after I’d made fun of something or other) that we, “Shouldn’t judge.” My response? “If I can’t judge I should probably shut down my website.” Honestly, that’s true. A large percentage of my content is making fun of people. Not sure what that says about me, and I may not want to know.

I’ve also received some great response from stuff I’ve written that sort of came straight from the heart, blogs like Remembering Andy, Jigger, Jigger’s Tree, Sara’s Last Wish, Trusting Robbie, A Man called Pop, A Right Cross, With Love, “You Saved Me, You Know“, Losing Tim, and WE ARE PAINT VALLEY.

See, I might just have a heart after all.

Of course, a lot of my writing is an attempt at humor, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Some of my more popular humorous blogs include Regarding Beach MidgetsTop 40 Eternal Musical Questions Answered! Sort of.OSU vs. Michigan and the Road Trip to End All Road TripsDodgeball: A Microcosm of LifeAn Incident at the MallHow a Convict Killed My Relationship, But Probably Saved Me In the Long Run, The All-Time Cartoon Football Team, My Reviews of the VMA Awards, and many more.

Of course, a lot of my writing involves my best friend, a 25-pound bundle of smarts and energy called Sparky. Just type is name into the search box up there to read all about him. Fair warning though – you might be up all night. I’ve written about that pup a lot.

A few of my articles have been picked up by newspapers and national websites, so that’s always cool. One piece, Requiem for a Tradition: The Demise of High School Sports, was linked to on The Big Lead, nationally prominent sports website.

Of course, sprinkled throughout has been funny, interesting or just plain strange videos, new articles with my commentary, and various other weirdness. I’ve had regular features like Cool Animal of the Day, Map of the Day, Incredible Photo of the Day, music videos, and a bunch of other stuff. I read somewhere once that if people visit a website 3-4 times and nothing new has been added they don’t come back, hence the crazy filler stuff.

Honestly though, writing is therapeutic for me. It’s an outlet that, quite frankly, I need. Is there ego involved? Absolutely. I get a thrill out of getting good feedback when I write something that touches somebody enough to make them cry, laugh, or feel something. Hell, I even get a kick out of the people I piss off. You know, except that one insane lady. She actually scared me a little.

All in all, though, the whole thing has been a positive experience. I’ve made a bunch of new friends a few new enemies in the last 5-years, I think more of the former than the latter.

I think.

Will this site make it another 5-years? Who knows. But hey, I’ll give it a shot, and hopefully you’ll hang around with me.

Especially my good friends in Belgium and the Philippines.

Listen, I’ve heard some good names before but this guy wins the name game hands down. And hey, he’s a principal. Kids, I guarantee you Jack Hammer runs Pardeeville High School with an iron fist and an iron will. Wanna bully somebody? Jack Hammer will bully you. And that haircut is Drill Sergeant 101. Hell, that lanyard around his neck probably carries a set of brass knuckles. I bet they still paddle at Pardeeville High. None of that pansy-ass new age nonsense on Jack Hammer’s watch. Jack Hammer, man.

PS- I don’t even know Jack Hammer’s parents and I love them. Just a ballsy move to have the last name Hammer and to name your son Jack. Awesome.

In the Civil Rights movement, even children became public figures, such as a little 6-year old girl by the name of Ruby Bridges. Ruby integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960.

Ruby was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, to Abon and Lucille Bridges. When she was 4-years old her parents moved to New Orleans, hoping for a better life in a bigger city. Her father got a job as a gas station attendant and her mother took night jobs to help support their growing family.

Ruby Bridges was born the same year that the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education decision desegregated schools, and it was a notable coincidence in her early journey into civil rights activism. When Ruby was in kindergarten, she was one of many African-American students in New Orleans who were chosen to take a test determining whether or not she could attend a white school. The test was written to be especially difficult so that students would have a hard time passing. The idea was that if all the African-American children failed the test, New Orleans schools might be able to stay segregated for a while longer. Ruby lived a mere five blocks from an all-white school but attended kindergarten several miles away at an all-black segregated school. Incredibly, Ruby Bridges was one of only six black children in New Orleans to pass this test.

The faces of hatred.

On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Ruby and her mother five blocks to her new school. While in the car, one of the men explained that when they arrived at the school, two marshals would walk in front of Ruby and two would be behind her. The image of this small black girl being escorted to school by four large white men inspired Norman Rockwell to create the painting “The Problem We All Live With”, which graced the cover of Look magazine in 1964 (photo at bottom). As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all the teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Finally, one person agreed to teach Ruby  –  a courageous female teacher named Barbara Henry, from Boston. For over a year Miss Henry taught Ruby alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” Here’s a photo of the amazing Miss Henry with Ruby:

That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. On the second day, however, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34-year-old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his 5-year-old daughter Pam through the angry mob, saying, “I simply want the privilege of taking my child to school.” Another hero right there – Mr. Lloyd Anderson Foreman.

Lloyd Anderson Foreman (left)

A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children, and the protests began to subside. Every morning as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, allowed Ruby to eat only the food that she brought from home. So damn sad.

The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary. Her father lost his job, the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land.

However, Ruby has since said that many others in the community, both black and white, showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.

Ruby graduated from a desegregated high school, became a travel agent, married, and eventually had four sons.

Ruby later wrote about her early experiences in two books. A lifelong activist for racial equality, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Ruby Bridges, along with teacher Barbara Henry, parent Lloyd Anderson Foreman and many others, are true American heroes.

Ruby Bridges today.

Barbara Henry today.

Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of Ruby Bridges.

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (AP) – Police in northern Oklahoma say they’ve arrested amazinga substitute teacher on an indecent exposure complaint after she reportedly did a cartwheel in front of students while wearing a skirt but no undergarments.

The Pawhuska Police Department says a student recorded the incident on a cellphone. Police Chief Scott Laird says the incident reportedly happened during a high school choir class in Pawhuska, about 100 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

The substitute teacher, whose name has not been released, was arrested Tuesday afternoon. Pawhuska police say she remains jailed Wednesday morning. 

See what happens, America? We go and elect a president with old school values, a man who has vowed to kill ISIS, send Killary to prison and build a wall to keep those damn Mexicans out, and what do we end up with? A damn uptight society that sends a poor substitute teacher to jail for teaching her students the benefits of physical fitness.

Damn it, Trump!

obama

Note: This is sarcasm. A joke. As a 30-year teacher I do understand this is inappropriate behavior. Funny, but inappropriate. 

Note 2: I just received a message from the Pawhuska High School Choir Class. It reads as follows:

BEST SUBSTITUTE EVER.

 

This happened at Ohio University because of course it did. OU, man.

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