Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, April 27, 2008

That's TAKStastic!

So, the last round of TAKS testing is upon us. I have already completed my last tutorial including my last Saturday tutorial. Hallelujah! I especially dislike Saturday tutorials. Big Surprise, huh? It's not the actual tutorials themselves but the very idea of being forced to come to school on a Saturday. The principal gave them and us McDonald's cheeseburgers and french fries for this last Saturday. The kids were pumped but it didn't seem much of a reward for the six- ten hours these kids had been spending in tutorials each week for the last five months. Unfortunately many of them will still fail.

As a disclaimer, I must say that I do get paid to do tutorials. But I don't need the money so it feels more like I am being forced to do it. But hooray it is over!!!!

We have the Math TAKS on Tuesday which I have been cramming my kids for all week. We are supposed to try for 90% to pass the Math but it is looking more like 80%. Please pray. I would love a TAKS miracle. The retake for the Reading TAKS is on Wednesday. I really think some of the ten kids who failed will pass this time.

On Thursday the fifth graders take a TAKS Science test so we are going on a field trip to Minute Maid Field. We are getting a behind the scenes tour. I am excited. Afterwards we are going to hang out in a new park downtown. It should be a nice relaxing post-TAKS retreat for students and teachers.

May should be a lot of fun. Instead of cramming for standardized tests, we can help the kids have fun with learning. Oh and I get to teach Social Studies again. Yay!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reflections on the road

I have been meaning to write this for a week so I will apologize for its untimeliness.

As I rode my bike for 150 miles in the MS150, I had a lot of time to think. I was surrounded by people that I didn't know. My dad left me in his dust at mile 1. Being on a hybrid bike and not training much meant I couldn't even dream of keeping up with him. He's become a fairly hardcore biker in recent years. He has lots of gear including these funny spandex leg warmers and sleeves.

Anyway, lots of time to think meant lots of Liz-style relevations. And now I share them with the world... for better or worse.

If you have never been a part of an organized bike ride, there are a few things you should know. There are a lot of rules to these things, both written and unwritten. When you are riding in such a large group, you need to announce your pressence when passing someone to avoid a collision. The average person just shouts "Left" as they pass you on the left. Though you are supposed to say this everytime you pass, I didn't mind when people passed several feet away from me without saying anything. Being on a hybrid bike, I got passed a lot. But it drove me crazy when someone would pass inches away from me- close enough for me to identify the gatorade flavor on their breath. It was very dangerous. If I wasn't concerned about my own safety, I would have veered right into them. That would teach them to be more polite, right?

I spent most of the ride wishing I had a road bike as I watched people who were obviously in worse shape pass me by over and over again. I coveted other people's bikes. In fact I convinced myself of my need for a road bike so much that I bought a bike the Friday after the race. Next time I ride I will also have some sort of speakers. You are not allowed to wear headphones but I was very jealous of those people with speakers. It was amusing to take note of the musical tastes of the other riders.

I know I had some other musings but I am tired from riding my new bike 20 miles this afternoon and I desperately need a shower.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I have been pretty busy lately trying to squeeze my MS150 training into my already hectic schedule. For those of you out of the loop, I am riding in the MS150 this weekend. It is a 150 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. I really haven't trained as much as I should.

I didn't train very much for the first one I did three years ago. I also didn't go to sleep until 4am. I think going to sleep at a reasonable hour this year will make the experience much better. Anything's better than Saturday tutorials, right?

On Tuesday, we went on a field trip in order to clear the school so the fifth graders could focus on their Math TAKS test. We took all our kids (77% of the English kids and 98& of the bilinguals) who passed the Reading TAKS test to a place called Incredible Pizza. It was pretty incredible. It was a big all you can eat pizza buffet and game palace. Wow! Those kids could really put away the pizza. I thought they were going to explode. I saw a girl double fisting a sports bottle of coke and an ice cream cone. I am pretty sure some kids were going back for eighths. The place had lots of video games that dispense tickets to exchange for prizes. I felt like a kid again as these types of places were my absolute favorite back in the day.

I played a fake deal or no deal game and won the grand prize- 200 tickets! I was a natural. Maybe I should go on the real thing. Then I lucked upon a machine that was malfunctioning. I was supposed to get 4 tickets but was given 400! A-MAZING! 15 years ago, this would have made my year. I ended up using my winnings to buy some treats to bribe my kids with. Yay!

I want to write more but I need to get my stuff together for the MS150. Eek! 150 miles!!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tales from the third grade

I want to share a few funny story with you:

There is a kid in my class. I will call him Steve. Steve is a bit of a whiner. Everything and everyone seems to bug him. Well, the whole class was practicing how to look up words in the dictionary. All of a sudden, Steve comes up with yet another complaint. He said that another kid, Richard, had called him a crybaby. When I approached Richard, he said he looked up the definition of crybaby in the dictionary and it said someone who complains a lot. He pointed out that Steve does complain a lot so therefore he is a crybaby. The kid had a point. Steve even agreed that he dis complain a lot. I basically told them that though what Richard was saying was true, Steve did not appreciate the title so he needed to stop calling him that.
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