As the Kids Say...Be There!

You’re invited to the first Children’s Prison Arts (CPAP) Fundraising Mixer!
October 27, 2009
AvantGarden (411 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006 / 832-519-1429)
6-9 pm

CPAP is nonprofit arts education organization founded by Gypsy Walker in 1993 to introduce juvenile offenders in correctional facilities and shelters to an innovative educational theater and visual arts forum where they can express their thoughts and visions in constructive ways in Houston, Texas. 

CPAP is funded in part by grants from The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, The Brown Foundation and The Houston Endowment.

Please come and enjoy yourself after a long work day and support this important project.

Any contribution helps
$10      one acrylic paint jar
$20      one canvas
$30      refreshments for youth after a performance
$50      printing of 100 postcards that advertise CPAP art exhibits or performances
$100    paint and three canvases for one art session (10 hours)
$200    costumes for theater production
$400    salary for visual art instructor (10 hours) or theater instructor (10 hours)
$500    half a year of office supplies
$1000 framing of 6 juvenile art works

Carolina Villarroel, President
Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Vice president
Laura Zubiate, Treasurer
Georgina Baeza, Secretary

For more information on CPAP visit http://www.childrensprisonart.org/gallery.htm


The Comfort of Old Friends

When my horoscope read, “Get things done today so that you’ll have time later in the week to reconnect with someone,” I thought they were talking about the BF and I. Imagine my surprise when I’m walking out of the office and I hear a loud, raspy voice that could belong to none other than my mentee from two years ago.
She came by to say hello and we sat around for two hours talking about students, work, and her never-ending issues for not fitting the mold. Despite all the struggles, she’s maintained a sense of humor and has even more passion about educating our students.
I wish some people could get past their issues and realize what a great fit she is for our kids. I can vouch for her because for the last two years, the students I have received from her are kids that are prepared for me. They’ve retained instruction and have developed the work ethic needed to be 7th graders. Sure, I have to nudge it out of them at first, but when I find out she was their teacher, I know they have no excuses. In her class, the expectations are never lowered—no matter what.
Being her mentor, I never felt I had anything to teach her. With her, I saw myself as someone who just needed to help her get situated in our school. She knew so much, not just because she was a good student but also because she had her Street Smarts Ph.D. In fact, I probably learned more from her than she did from me.
I know that when her path leads her elsewhere, so many kids are going to lose out. For many of them, she is that one chance that they have to finally break the mold and create a different future for themselves.


Directions Quiz

As a teacher, I get tired of telling kids, "Read the directions." This past week, it took my Pre-AP kids 25 minutes to revise a sentence because they didn't read directions. So, I decided it was time for a directions quiz. I googled and found one and made some modifications to fit my class.

It was comic relief Friday for me. I can't post pics of the kids, but I can post the quiz for you.

Directions Quiz

Read the entire quiz first, then follow the directions given. You have 10 minutes to complete this test. (Your teacher will be watching you and making notes of what you do, so read carefully!)

1. Write your name in the upper right hand corner

2. Put the date in the left hand corner

3. Write your age:

4. Write the name of the President of the U.S.

5. Write the name of the author of The Outsiders

6. Stand up and stretch.

7. Write your two favorite colors here: ____________ and _____________

8. Walk once around all the desks in the class.

9. Write the formula for a sentence*:

10. Put your left shoe on the desk and leave it there.

11. Get up and sharpen your pencil.

12. Fold this paper in half.

13. Add 237, 4986, and 866. Answer: __________________

14. After you do number 13, raise your hand for ten seconds.

15. Write the name of your favorite food: _______________

16. Sit down and stand up 10 times as fast as you can. Record how long it took you here: ________________

17. Print the name of the planet you live on ____________

18. Write down a compliment for the person to your right or left on the back of this paper.

19. Draw one red circle and two blue triangles on the bottom of this page.

20. Don’t follow these instructions. Instead, turn this paper face down and read your book quietly until time is called.

*The timer was sitting on top of the foldable we've been working on for sentence types. The formula for a sentence was to the left and I have them recite it weekly at least.


It's Been Such a Long Time...

There have been half a dozen times that I type up a blog post, but never get around to actually posting it. Some of them are saved and some have been lost.

Life has been going on, you know?

Work is good. Although I’m not leaving as early as I intended and sometimes it gets really crazy busy, it’s not so bad. I like my kids. The same kids I kept hearing were so horrible I’d want to flee the building screaming and pulling out my hair. Perhaps because of this reputation, I’d convinced myself that I was going to be a hard ass at first, and I guess I have been. I haven’t had many issues aside from the incessant gum referrals. I keep knocking on wood hoping that it’ll stay good all year long. We are just sliding down the October slope though. I’m determined not to spend the entire year in the dip though.

I suppose I should mention that I have a student teacher. She’ll only be with me for a couple weeks more and then off to the other end of the building. I had no idea it’d be so cool. I know a lot of it has to do with her being super awesome and me not being a demeaning witch, but it really does make the day go by swimmingly.

In the home front, I have two new pets. I actually just got them today. I named them Jeff and Kelley. I was told that those were stupid names, but the peeps that know me, know me know why I called them that. They’re happily floating in their plastic cylinder right now. I’m convinced to clear off my desk tonight, so I can sit in there and watch them as I force myself to work.

I’ve also gotten into the habit of podcasting the Rachel Maddow show and watching it before I go to bed. She cracks me up. In the mornings, I like to listen to Fresh Air. It makes the hair situation more bearable. I’ve been growing my hair out some, so now I must do more than rub in some gel and muss it up. Interestingly, my hair kind of resembles that of Rachel Maddow. I’m not sure how long I’m going to let it get, but it’s a nice change. I’d had the same hairstyle for ten years.

There’s not much else to really tell. I’ll probably disappear for another few weeks or months. The textbook committee meetings start up soon, and I’ll most likely be spending lots of free time on finding and defending the best book for our district. As big of a nerd as I am, I’m really excited about it.