My First Day of School Questionnaire

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is it just me, or is there something about this school year that makes this back-to-school season particularly exhausting? I'm so tired and slept so hard last night that I woke up and thought my nightstand was a Viking and threw a pillow at it.

Anyway, school starts this week for me, so yesterday I found myself needing to make a first day of school questionnaire. You know, something to keep the kids busy on those first few minutes while you're out in the hall wrangling lost 6th graders and unworking lockers.

In past years, I've made them more "real" get-to-know-you questions, like "Tell me about your family," and "What are your interests?", but this year:

a) I am moving up with same kids from last year
b) Even if I didn't know them already, I think there's something inorganic and maybe even intrusive about asking kids, especially from the population I teach, to talk about their home life or answer personal questions with someone they've just met
c) I like finding out about them in conversation better anyway
d) I think you can find out a lot about people by asking them disarmingly weird questions

So, thus was born this first-day-of-school questionnaire:

1. What is your name?
2. What do you wish people had to call you? 
3. Which do you feel have a better chance of taking over the world: zombies or pirates? Justify your answer.
4. Would you rather find yourself in the world of Harry Potter (during the last two books) or The Hunger Games? Justify your answer.
5. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? (You get an entree, side, drink, and dessert.)
6. Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck, or one hundred duck-sized horses? Justify your answer.
7. Draw a visual representation of your answer to number 6 in the space below to the best of your ability.
8. Would you rather have the ability to fly or read minds?
9. What is your spirit animal?
10. On the back of this paper, write a list of everything that makes you happy. If you do not want to write a list of everything that makes you happy, write a list of everything you can think of that is the color orange.

Here's to the weirdest year ever.

What would you add to this questionnaire? Can you even get on my weird level?



P.S. Please feel free to steal/share/tweak/add and use for your first day!

10 Teaching Inventions I Wish Existed

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer means I have lots of time to do important thinking, which this morning has meant coming up with this list of teaching inventions I wish existed. 

1) Grading machine

You'll notice that it looks remarkably like a fax machine. It can even grade essays! Oh, also it can create make-up exams. I just decided.

2) Silent spray
Extra strength: for grades 6-8

I’ve seen cute versions of this on Pinterest for pre-school age kiddos, but mine would be very serious. Sort of like Febreze except instead of working with smells it will work with sounds. A quick spray across the room and a hush just falls over everyone. Ahhhh.

Also, my roommate held up a placemat just behind our coffee table for this picture to happen. Thanks, Esther!

3) A special telephone that has a direct hotline for answers to everything

Preferably the hotline attendant would be Morgan Freeman. He would have the answers to my most plaguing questions, which, last year, were things like:
“Yeah, it’s October and our school ran out of paper and toner for the rest of the year. What do I do?”
“Who wrote ‘Charlie = bae’ in this copy of Flowers for Algernon?”
“Where did I put my Easy Grader?”
“Why is there a staple in my hair?”

4) A life-sized hamster wheel
For that one angel we all have.

5) A light-up PMS necklace
The heart of the ocean.
I love life most of the time. But exactly five days before my period, I love nothing and nobody. If I had a necklace that lit up and played a song (preferably, a happy, twinkly tune) when I was PMSing, it would help me to recognize that my irritability and tears were coming from a place of hormonal chaos rather than the real world, and I would be able to cope accordingly.

6) A clock that sings the perfect song at the beginning of the day, during every passing period, and at the end of the day
This isn’t like an iPod alarm or something where I choose the song; it just knows what to play. IT KNOWS!

7) Food-multiplying wand
If I’m starving during class and take out a granola bar during class, everyone wants one. It would be nice to turn one into 35 with a simple wave of my wand. Also, I could easily promise my classes cookies or mini quiches or whatever I felt like because I would only have to make one instead of a hundred and twenty.  

The wand would also come in handy when your coworker brings amazing leftovers from last night’s dinner at that new steakhouse in town and you accidentally packed yourself a bell pepper because you thought it was an apple in your early morning lunch-packing stupor.

8) A zipline that goes from my room to my parking space
Because why not?

9) A remote-control robot teacher for active monitoring during testing

Just program it to go up and down the aisles, sit back at your desk, and Sudoku your little heart out. Also I emailed my mom and asked her to draw a robot teacher with a Sharpie in under 30 seconds and this is what she sent back. I cackled.

10) An arm belt
Basically I just want another set of hands.

Excuse me while I go have a nightmare about that arm belt.

What teaching inventions do you wish existed? I'm almost worried about your creativity.