Friday, December 12, 2008

Full Moon

Okay. First and foremost, I KNOW that technically there is no proof that people lose it/go crazy when there's a full moon. I never believed in that stuff anyway. Then I started teaching.

Since school started this year, the dynamics of my classes change as time goes on, ebbing and flowing throughout the weeks and months. That happens every year. I do 8th grade lunch duty this year, though. Every once in a while I've noticed that the kids are a bit more active and more nuts than usual. I commented on an unusually crazy day in September to one of my lunch supervision colleagues and she said that it made sense, seeing as how there was a full moon. I just smiled and inwardly rolled my eyes, not believing she bought into that connection.

The same thing happened the next month and the next.

Today I had the enjoyable chance to talk to one of my angels in lunch and let him know that if he could not learn to control himself during lunch (i.e. - sitting down in his own seat instead of in the lap of another student, walking around the lunchroom instead of running and leaping over objects, eating his food instead of throwing it at others or stealing other's food...) I would find a nice, isolated spot for him to enjoy his lunch in every day. Two separate tables were kept to clean up the lunchroom - usually there are none, or maybe half a table. The kids singing happy birthday to their friends were screaming the song. Oh, right. I forgot to mention that these groups of kids singing the song contained about 40 kids (no joke - I counted one of the groups) surrounding the table of the birthday kid.

My best class could not focus today (granted, it was right after the crazy lunch) and my last class today took the cake for insanity. I kicked out four kids. FOUR! Two missed the first half of the lesson and two others missed the second half of the lesson. My throat hurts from trying to talk over the kids to get their attention (bad, bad habit that I've been trying to curb, but just wasn't able to today). I first tried just waiting for the kids to realize I was waiting for them to pay attnention before moving on. That usually works really well. Not even close today.

By the time the bell rang at the end of the day, I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I went to to check my e-mail for any important things I might need to check on right away before heading home. There, on the front page of, was a link to an article about tonight's full moon and how it would appear to be larger than any other full moon in the year. The old belief that full moons affect people's behavior came rushing back to me.

I'm starting to believe that there's something to that belief.

I'm going home to nurse my sore throat with some hot chocolate and a good book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Race to the Theorem

I'm in the middle of my 7/8A geometry class right now. Seriously.

We've got a lot of new theorems today. Like, 11 of them. Two sections, 11 theorems. Wow.

I have my classes write down all the theorems and postulates we learn so they have them easily accessible while they do their homework and take their quizzes, instead of needing to flip through their book every time they're trying to find a theorem to use.

The kids don't really enjoy this. At all. But they've started to see the use in it. Yay.

Today, the kids started to make writing down the theorems into a competition. As soon as they finish writing down a theorem and underlining the important words, they sit back and say, "done!" We're getting through these things in record time, even with me waiting for them to stop talking between each theorem.

It's a fun atmosphere in here with this. I hope my other two geometry classes have this much fun with the theorems tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Thought of You

First hour this morning during worktime, a student looked over at me and said, "Ms. Grivna. I thought of you this weekend!" My thought was, why?

Backtrack a bit...

Today was the first day back to school after a five-day weekend for the kids (teachers had school yesterday) due to the state education conferences, so many families took trips. The student who thought of me went to NYC with her family. They went to see the musical "Legally Blond." She said that their seats were quite high in the balconies and they had a perfect view of the pit. And that's why she thought of me, with all of my community theatre pit stories. What a sweetie. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Week of Wednesdays

Yesterday (Tuesday) I welcomed my last hour class with "Happy Wednesday, everyone!"

Everyone stopped talking and gave me the weirdest look. They were confused.

I again said, "Happy Wednesday!"

Again, the looks. This time, the students were beginning to get worried. Has she finally gone insane?
One brave student voiced her classmates' thoughts carefully. "No, Ms. is Tuesday, not Wednesday."

My response? "No it isn't. It's Wednesday! Yesterday was Wednesday, today is Wednesday, and tomorrow is Wednesday. I love these weeks!!!"

And slowly, lightbulbs began to go on around the room. The kids started shaking their heads in disbelief, their thoughts easily read on their faces. Wow, she is such a dork.

I love three day weeks. :D

Monday, October 13, 2008

Naming Properties

If you don't know the answer, make it up! At least, that's what a few of my students have been doing with naming the multiplication properties for their latest math test. One student came up with a partricularly good property in place of the actual "Multiplication Property of Zero": "anything times zero = zero property". I think I'm going to change the name of the property to that! :P

Personally, I'm waiting to see how many PoO's (Property of Opposites) I get next chapter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Wow. Almost a month has gone by since school started and I have yet to post any of my fun stories on here. Sad, sad thing. No, I'm actually serious about that. I need to do a way better job of updating this thing a bit more regularly. Thanks to those few people whom have mentioned such a fact to me as of late. :P

I'll see if can find some time (and remember!) to post some of the stories that have happened the past few weeks soon.

But on to today's story.

I pulled out of the parking lot after FINALLY leaving school, much later than I had hoped to leave. There's a stop sign not even half a block from the parking lot exit/entrance. A student was waiting to cross the street there and as I pulled up to the sign, he waved for me to go through. Silly kid. I waved for him to cross and after triple-checking to decided that I really WAS letting him cross, he picked up his skateboard and walked across.

That's when I started doing the math. I had the kid in FOL when he was in 7th grade. That was two years ago. Holy crap. How the heck can he be a 9th grader already?!?

Not much has changed about him, except his height. He's definitely taller than me now. And not by just a little (granted, that's not very hard to do).

It's fun watching these kids grow up as the years go by, but...

Why do the years have to fly by so quickly???

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can I...?

Yesterday during work time last hour (my algebra class)...

A student walked over to me, handed me his planner and a pen, and asked, "Miss Grivna, can I go to the bathroom?"

I respond with my normal: "I don't know, can you?" Even though I'm a math teacher, I still prefer hearing correct grammar usage in my classroom.

"I'm not gonna say it."

Oh, two can play at this game. "Then I'm not gonna sign it."


"Fine. May I go to the bathroom?"

"Yes, you may."


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Tests

Yup, it's Earth Day. Yay!

Yup, it's the beginning of MCA math tests. Boo!

Because my students took the first half of the math state standardized tests today during the first two hours (or more) of school, I decided to be a nice teacher and give them a free day in math class. It was either that or teach them math stuff that they won't remember come the end of the week because they're blocking all math for the remainder of the day.

My students in my 3/4 block decided they liked the classroom with only one of the three lightswitches on, so most of them played "Apples to Apples" (literally...all but about six kids were playing at one point in time!), while some chose to write on my whiteboard with their markers. The kids drawing on the whiteboard suddenly realized that I had drawn a tree and a flower next to the date I had written in green on the board. Oh, yeah...Earth Day!! All the grafitti on the board became related to Earth Day then. That was fun.

The kids at the board, while making all their fun pictures, started talking about global warming. One of my students was sitting at a table reading and overheard this discussion. She commented that global warming didn't exist. Oh, that irked me to no end. I countered her and she stopped her sentence short. She looked at me confused and said, "really?" We talked about the effects of global warming that can already be seen in the world and what might happen if we don't start taking precautions right now. She was stunned by what she heard and then decided that she needed to get into the act, too, and help fix things in her own way. Yay.

And for a random change of topic...

I'm off to see BMG in just about an hour's time. School gets out in about 45 minutes, then I've got bus duty. Once the buses are gone, I will be, too. I'll be on my way to pick up a college friend from the school she teaches at now, then we'll be heading up to Duluth! Yes, I know I have to teach tomorrow. Yes, I will be teaching tomorrow. I'll just be teaching on a very small amount of sleep. Yay for insanity!

At least we'll have a bit of junk food on the way up. :P Even though our district has a new wellness policy in place this year, our principal has kindly provided contraband sweets for the staff in the staff lounge during all the testing days. I walked into the lounge today to be greeted by Hershey's miniatures, Hostess cupcakes, M&Ms, and Twinkies. I snatched a couple extra Twinkies for my friend and I to eat on the way to Duluth to get ready for BMG. :)

And now I should probably pay a bit more attention to my kids here now. There's a group playing UNO in the back, another larger group playing Apples to Apples in the other back corner, a few coloring at the front of the room, a few sitting at their desks reading or watching the action, and a couple playing UNO H2O. I've been asked to join in the UNO H2O game for quite a while now. I think it's time to kick their butts in that one. Mwahahaha!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Gosh, so much has happened in the past month. I share some of these entries with my students once in a while, so I won't share all the details yet (it's all school stuff). I'm not quite ready for them to know some of this stuff yet. They'll all find out eventually. Besides that, some of my colleagues are still finding out.

First of all, I am officially getting tenure next year. That is HUGE weight off my shoulders just knowing that.

At the same meeting that my principal told me that she was recommending me for tenure, she asked me to be on the interview committee for a math position looping between 7th and 8th grades. Those interviews happened two days ago for the full day and the first half of today. I'm so glad my prep is the third block of four in the school day. I've got one class to teach today. :)

Our first day of interviews ended early. Grades were due at 4 p.m. that day as well. I went back to my classroom, where my last hour algebra class was in the middle of their lesson, to grab a couple things I needed to enter into my gradebook and then submit all six classes of grades online. My kids all were so happy to see me and kept asking me to stay. I told them that I wasn't there and they should be paying attention to their sub. One kid (my "wild child" from a previous posting) followed me out of the hall to try to get me to stay, telling me that their sub didn't know what she was doing. I could just tell that he was going to continue to follow me down that hallway as I walked away, so I told him that if he left that classroom, he'd be headed down to the office. He stopped mid-stride and backed up into the room again. Poor kids.

I realized today while the interview committee was eating lunch after the interviews and hiring decisions were done (oh, I hope the candidate we unanimously chose accepts!!) that while everyone else was saying that they wished they could take the rest of the day off, I was actually looking forward to getting back to my classroom and teaching. I miss my kids!!

That was such a warm, exciting thing to realize. I like teaching my kids. It's one of those things that you stop thinking about after a while and it takes a day or two away from them to remember how fun they are, even on difficult days.

I just hope that having a sub two days in a row won't be too behind or confused when I see them next week! Oh, and I had a new kid start today. An 8th grader. With a sub. Yup, I'm sure that was great for him. We'll see how he is on Monday.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sound of Silence

I was checking up on some facebook stuff during second block today. My kids are taking a test today. Our high school's hockey team made it to state and are playing at the X at 11 a.m. today. The district gave students permission to miss school to go to the game. Don't get me started on that one.

For any student missing the test today for the game, I made them come in either during lunch or after school yesterday to take the test. Ten kids showed up after school. Five of them from my second block. And two more from second block left for the game today, too. One came in early to class to take the test and the other is losing points for missing the test. His fault. He chose not to come in beforehand when he had the opportunity.


So I was poking around online, trying to get out of a mind block while trying to finish up my papers for grad school that are due on Saturday (I need to finish them by Friday). It was so quiet in the room that when I looked up from the screen after a couple minutes, I was almost shocked to see that there were kids in the room taking a test! I never knew that thirteen kids could be so quiet.

I know, thirteen plus the seven that are at the game only makes nineteen. I promise that I have more than nineteen students in that class! I have a huge group of special ed kids in my second block. They're all out of the room taking the test at present. So, yeah. Thirteen kids, and they are hardly making a sound. It's amazingly beautiful.

Oh, right. About the game. Over 200 students had brought in permission slips to go to the game as of this morning. That's 200 students from our school. We've got somewhere between 1000 and 1200 students in this building. That's an insane amount of kids gone from the building. Again, don't get me started.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Towards the end of last block today, my algebra kids were asking about the total lunar eclipse happening later tonight. I pulled up an artice on about it and was going through that information with my students who wanted to know more about it. It was a great teachable moment about eclipses and the kids were pumped about it!

They wanted to know more about solar eclipses and when the next one would happen, so I googled solar eclipse schedule and found NASA's site that had info. on that. We found out that the next total solar eclipse will be on August 1 of this year. I told my kids they'd have to go to Greenland to see it, though. They agreed that they should do that.

Suddenly one of my kids, who was abnormally quiet and subdued for most of the hour, yelled my name from the back of the room. He tried to convince me that one of his classmates had just pantsed him. Just by looking at their two faces I highly doubted that scenario. I told him such and he continued trying to convince me that he really had been pantsed. I explained to him that had he called my name right away and I had at least seen him pulling up his pants, then I would know that he had been telling the truth. He conceded the point.

Not two minutes later the same kid called my name again. I looked up, he pantsed himself, and stood there saying that his classmate had pantsed him. Uh huh.

After telling him to put his pants back on, and him complying, I had him come over to where I was standing. He walked over and I just couldn't hold a straight face!! There are just some things that kids do that are just so out there and unexpected that you can't help but laugh.

Through my laughter I finally was able to catch enough of a breath to tell him that the pantsing was one, thoroughly inappropriate; two, thoroughly hilarious and a much needed laugh after a long day; but three, thoroughly inappropriate all the same. He agreed and appologized, but you could totally see that twinkle left in his eye. My wild child was back.

Of course, the story doesn't end there! Oh, no. The final bell hadn't rung yet!

I immediately turned back to my computer, which was projecting the NASA website and the solar eclipse information onto the screen at the front of the room. I pulled up a new Internet window and opened up to post this story. The kids all wanted to see what I wrote, but the bell rang before I started typing it up. I might just have to share this one with them. After all, it really was priceless.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can I Take the Test Now?

Oh, the stories I've had today!!

I was standing in the hall outside my classroom after school today, making sure no one killed anyone else again, when Alicia (pronounced "a-lee-see-uh", not "a-lee-shuh") stopped in front of me and aksed me, "Can I take the test right now?"

For the second time in as many days this child struck me into silence. Take the test now? Practically a whole day early? I have never heard such an odd request come from a student. Not when I was a student, not in all my time student teaching, not in the past two and a half years of teaching. Take the test now?

It technically puts her at a disadvantage - she has one less night to study compared to the rest of her classmates. She did a small bit of review with me before starting the test, but nothing nearly as extensive as the class will do tomorrow. But she was insistent that she wanted to do the test today and not wait.

I asked her what she would do tomorrow when the rest of her classmates were taking the test. She said she was going to catch up on her reading. I wish I could do that!!

Obviously, I couldn't find anything that would give her an advantage over her classmates taking it a day early, so she's now sitting in my classroom taking the test while I catch up on grading!

Um, Ms. Grivna?

I definitely meant to write about this one yesterday, but didn't have time.

Yesterday was the first day of second semester. We started on a B Day (the second day in our two-day cycle of classes). My second class of the day is my favorite Trans (pre-algebra) class I have. It was a good day to start the semester on.

I dismissed my Trans kids once I had passed back the quizzes they had taken that day. I followed them out, getting ready to stand in the halls and make sure that no one killed each other during passing time. One of the last students to leave started giggling and pushed her classmate back into my room. This confused me until the student who was pushed into the room started with, "Um, Ms. Grivna??"

Now, I hate putting names in these things, because really, how do I know who in the world is reading these things? But to get the full effect of this story, her name (first only!) is going to be used.

After asking her what was up, she said that her name is "Alicia" (a-lee-see-uh), not "Alicia" (a-lee-shuh).

Now, I have had this kid since the second day of school. She is one of the sweetest, kindest, cutest kids ever. And I have been pronouncing her name incorrectly since I met her. I felt like an absolute fool!!

I asked her why she hadn't told me before now that I've been saying her name wrong this whole entire time (over half the year at that point). She said that she didn't want me to think she was disrespectful of me by telling me I was wrong! What a stinkin' cutie.

I told her that I felt absolutely awful (and I still do!!!) and that she should never feel disrespectful for correcting anyone on the pronounciation of her own name!

Tomorrow will be the first time I see her knowing how to say her name correctly. I know I won't forget, but it will definitely sound funny the first few times I say it correctly in class!

Can I Work Out in the Hallway?

A question posed to me by one of my students who had finished his test. Most of his classmates were still working through their tests.

I told him, "You can work in here."

"But I like to work in the hallway when it's nice and quiet out there."

"It's quiet in here."


Then, "Oh. Yeah."

Heh. What a concept! Granted, I have no doubt that this student would get his work done out in the hallway, but I don't feel like having anyone out in the hallways today. It's a new semester. I think I'm going to try changing some of the boundaries for this class now.

To function well, these kids actually needed a good deal of freedom of choice on where to do their homework during work time, where to sit during the lesson, etc. Of course, this would not be tolerated in most classes and I need to start getting them ready to be successful students in eighth grade, where the math teachers are quite a bit more strict than I am.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Travel Tales

I went to Arizona for a week over winter break (which I still have a few days of now that I'm home, thank goodness!). We got back around 9:30 p.m. last night. Dad went to get the car, which we had left in his company's parking lot for the week. The company's only a few blocks away from Mall of America and the parking's free that way. All Dad had to pay for was the light rail ticket to the airport, then one to MOA.

Mom, my sisters, and I got down to the carousel in baggage claim where our luggage would be coming. I staked out a spot to get our bags and my sister joined me a few minutes later. I was people watching while waiting for the carousel to start moving. There was this guy standing a couple people away who looked extremely familiar. I leaned over to my sister and told her that he looked a lot like our school's head night custodian. Not two minutes later did the guy walk over and ask me, "You work at Valley View, don't you?"

Here, he was visiting his parents in Mesa for ten days. Whoa. We were in Mesa, too! Visiting my uncle, aunt, and cousins for eight days.

We visited while looking for our bags to come. All his bags came before any of ours. He said he'd see me Monday and went on his way.

Fast forward to waiting for Dad to come pick us up.

Mom called Dad to find out where he was and he had just gotten off the train at MOA, so he had a good fifteen minute walk (in the freezing cold!), then had to drive to the airport to get us. I found some empty chairs and sat down. I pulled out my puzzle book and started flipping through it to choose a puzzle to do.

A guy walks past us, then stops in front of me. "Do I know you from somewhere? Because you look really familiar for some reason." Okay. That's never happened to me before. I said that I wasn't sure, I've been to a lot of places and done many things.

He started listing off places where he might have known me from. He started out with colleges. The first word out of his mouth was the college I went to. Weird. I said that I had gone there and he told me what dorm he lived in freshman year. Same one as me. Even odder. I asked him what years he had gone to school there. '01 to '02. I was '01 to '05. He lived on second floor, me on first freshman year.

As we visited a little, I started to remember him. Not much, but vaguely. He works in the film industry now. Crazy. We caught up a bit. Turns out one of his freshman year roommates (whom I actually do remember) got married this past summer.

I think we talked for a good five, ten minutes. After he left, Mom and my sisters just laughed. Mom asked me if I really did remember him. Yes, but quite vaguely. Mara told me that I wasn't allowed to see any other people I knew. Right. Dad came a few minutes later, so that wasn't a difficult task for me to accomplish.