• The Marriage of Figaro is the best opera ever.
  • Reason # 213 why Hugh Laurie is awesome:  When using an American accent he neither sounds like John Wayne (as British actors of olde) nor the cast of the Jersey Shore (as the actors on Hustle demonstrate is now the default).
  • Some of these students are getting exam problems wrong in a way that would suggest that they had access to the 2007 exam I used as a template.  I’m glad I decided to swap problems…
  • Some of the afternoon section students are getting problems wrong in a way that would suggest they had talked with the morning section students.  I’m glad I decided to swap problems.
  • LM Montgomery totally recycled plots to her short stories.  I only needed to read the “girls in boarding house write Christmas letter to lonely spinster” once, no matter how many details changed (and there’s always one girl who works for the newspaper and is held in awe by the high schoolers).  But I can’t get enough of “poor family gets special Christmas surprise, including toys and turkey, from last minute benefactor.”  Ah Kindle.   Without you I wouldn’t know there was so much repetition.  (I bet someone could get $ ‘recycling’ her stories to Ladies Home Journals even today.)
  • When you move from a working-parent centered daycare to a private school, birthday invitations and parent-kid projects suddenly get a lot more intricate.  I like to think we’re lowering the bar so that other parents don’t feel compelled to be perfect crafters.
  • Oh homophones, though art harsh mistresses.  And why doesn’t this generation not know that you don’t use an apostrophe to make a word plural?
  • I used “no opt out” in class today, basically refusing to take a student’s, “I don’t know” for an answer (and coming down hard on other students who were talking while he tried to figure it out)… and it really worked.  I was worried when he came up to me after class… but he just wanted to explain about what he didn’t understand, so we went through the general concepts again and we agreed that maybe I should cold-call on him  more often so that he has more checks to his understanding, since it makes sense when I say it but not when he tries to apply it.  So he needs more practice applying it.  I followed up “no opt out” with “right is right”– keeping at him until he got the answer exactly perfect.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. ianqui Says:

    Haha, I totally had the same reaction about lowering the bar when we had Yo’s birthday party on a playground in a city park instead of a fancy indoor gym. Of course, no one has seemed to follow suit, except maybe those who haven’t had a party at all.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We actually do ours at a local museum. They’re cheap and well-organized and we don’t have to clean up after it. It’s a really good deal! I feel for the families that have these elaborate parties at their homes. We go to a lot of city park parties in the fall and spring, but there’s too high a chance of rain during DC’s birthday season.

  2. feMOMhist Says:

    1. I hate opera, sciDAD loves it, but if i have to go it better be Mozart.
    2. I <3 Hugh Laurie, and Hustle has jumped the shark I fear.
    4. I <3 Anne of Green Gables. Wonder if boychild would read? He will read books about girls!
    5. on behalf of all mothers and fathers, thank you.
    6. I need a grammar game for fMhson. My kids WILL learn proper grammar damnit (and to spell the word grammar)
    7. eeek, but I do this too. I try to explain there is no learning without failure (channelling my inner yoda) so man up and take a stab at it.

  3. bogart Says:

    3. Oh dear.

    5. Yes. What feMOMhist said. I’m awaiting (not eagerly) the day my son learns there is such a thing as Chuck-E-Cheese (sp?) or that blow-up thingamabobbers can be brought to one’s house and inflated. For now, ignorance is bliss, but it won’t last forever I know.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh lord. We usually alternate kid’s birthday parties… we have a new rule that Chuck E Cheese parties get their own alternation. They are the absolute most exhausting.

      I used to be on a mothers forum, and the moms would sometimes complain about working moms sending their nannies to birthday parties (not the nanny of the birthday kid, but the nanny of a guest) instead of experiencing the joy of being a a children’s party themselves, and how awful and what horrible mothers etc. And I thought *WHAT A GREAT IDEA*. If only we had a nanny! I suppose we could get a college kid for birthday party escort, but getting that set up is probably about the same amount of time and effort as going to a party.

      • anandi Says:

        I hate to say it, but if people wouldn’t schedule birthday parties in the early afternoon on weekdays, maybe working parents could actually attend. Seriously, they complain about nannies attending?

        I live in fear of birthday parties at those jumping places. But I suspect that T will not care for getting trampled on by classmates, given what her personality seems to be so far.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The bounce places are actually a lot of fun. All the ones we’ve been to have been run well and there’s been no trampling. They usually have separate playtime for birthday parties so they get their own bouncers or there are only birthday parties in the main room too.

  4. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    (1) Opera? F*cke thatte stupid austrobelgian gibberish!

    (8) Yes, Socratic dialogue is an extremely effective teaching method, especially for problem- and case-based material. And no, the way it is depicted in The Paper Chase is not how it really works. You don’t just yell at students until some poor f*cker figures out the answer; you use leading questions to guide students to the answer.

  5. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I’m totally onboard with the set the bar way way way low for parties crew. That’s me. I even make totally cheesy obviously not baked by a professional cakes. And I don’t have activities planned. It’s the best.

    You sound like a harsh mistress yourself.

  6. Cloud Says:

    We’ve done parties at indoor play places. Before I had kids, I thought I’d never waste the money on such a thing. Now I think they are an amazing bargain. I pay money and they make it so that I don’t have to worry about what the weather will be like or how to keep the kids happy, etc.

    We’ve also done (much smaller!) parties at our house with a jumpy in the backyard. Also an amazing bargain, really. For a mere $100, I can guarantee that my kids will nap!

    I don’t mind going to the birthday parties for our day care cohort, though, because for the most part, I like the parents. It will be interesting to see what next year brings….

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I bet you haven’t been to a Chuck E Cheese party yet. If ever a party called for someone else to take the kid…

      Kids love them, but man… I felt like I needed to sleep for a week after the last one.

      • Cloud Says:

        You’re right- the toddler and I were both sick for the first Chuck E Cheese party, so my husband took the 4 year old alone. He’d been wanting to see what Chuck E Cheese was like. He came back saying that the grown up version (Dave and Busters) is better. So yeah, maybe he can do all future Chuck E Cheese parties!

  7. Practical Parsimony Says:

    In the halls of inner-city schools I saw signs/posters purchased from a school supply house exclaiming: dy-no-mite. Yes, peripheral learning will occur and there will be generations of puzzled students.

    I live in the South and would like to correct business signs I see, for example, “Otto Body Shop.” No, Otto does not own a business where they work on automobile bodies. Some people in the South pronounce “auto” as “otto.”

    One day, I was in a junior college administrative office and saw a flyer that was wrong. I tried to correct it unobtrusively. But, a lady in an office obviously saw me because she flew out and ripped it down and tore it up. She probably put back up another just like the one I corrected.

    When the math professor tried to teach me something that all the little snobby eighteen-year-olds girls who were from Mountain Brook got, they talked about me and laughed at me. I had the last laugh. I made the third highest grade in the class. My best friend got the highest and another older woman got the second highest…yay…old ladies. The math professor never made the girls shut up or behave!

    • anandi Says:

      Wait, how is ‘auto’ pronounced if not like ‘otto’? I’m from the Northeast and am totally confused now ;)

      My favorite is when teams @ work (tech company) get these really fancy marketing materials printed with grammatical or spelling errors, and hang them up anyway. We like to put Post-Its on them with corrections…

  8. Funny about Money Says:

    LOL! In only one tiny way have I ever succeeded in getting students to quit misusing the apostrophe, and that’s with its’ (as in “the cat ate its’ food”). Write its’ on the board. Then outline a cartoon head of a unicorn around it, with the horn over the apostrophe. Then jump up & down and holler, “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A UNICORN! AND THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS I-T-S-APOSTROPHE!!!”


    Alas, though, it doesn’t translate to other contexts. Apparently it’s impossible to teach students the difference between the plural and the possessive.

    Great no opt-out strategy, and amazing that it worked. I tried it with one kid. He quit coming to class after that.

    oooohhhhh Chuck E Cheese….bleagh! thank GOD i’ll never have to do that again! But brace yourself for the private-school soc’ scene. One year at my son’s school, a parent actually rented an ice rink for his kid’s party. They closed the place down for an entire afternoon so this guy could entertain his kid and every other kid in the class. Not only that, but in addition to fancy food and cake (Dad owned an upscale restaurant), he brought in a case of wine for the parents.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Fortunately we’re not at *that* private school! There are some benefits to being at the private school that focuses on academics but has financial difficulties compared to the ritzy college-prep school that somehow manages to turn kids who, with no intervention would have gotten national merit, to low-scorers on the SAT. Of course, we wouldn’t be having these financial difficulties if there were more rich parents. (Out of a graduating class of 3, at least one of our students gets national merit, sometimes 3… out of their graduating class of 50 sometimes they get a national merit semi-finalist. Given the SES at that school they have to be actively hurting these kids academically.)

      But I do remember the kindergarten party I went to when I was at a Catholic K back in the fancy suburb of an already expensive city (we lived in the “poor” suburb which 30 years later is no longer affordable for the working class folk we shared apartment buildings with– rent was already going up $50/month every month we were there). Gorgeous mansion estate, complete with peacocks. They hired a magician. Just getting to the mansion from the fancy gate took forever.

      But I think we had just as much fun in our apartment courtyard with a pinata. :)

  9. Revanche Says:

    #7: I’ve been dropping my version of that hammer lately to good result. “Why is that a good idea? Why do you think that works? Why does that make sense?” If they can’t answer, they have to go back and fix the process until they can answer me.

    It’s a great way to push growth – now they get to give me answers AND defend them. They’re fully capable, but had gotten lazy (or dependent, really). It’s kind of fun. And I’m kind of like a proud mama duck when they get it right or go off and come up with questions that show critical thought.

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