Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Composition Books!

Arrived today! Thank you, Karen!!!!

Asking For a Little Help: UPDATE

We are 7 days from the start of school and I want to, once again, thank those who have contributed to our school supply drive and update you on where we stand now.  I've received pens, notebook paper, spiral notebooks, composition books, and the SmashBooks for the Creative Writing class.

We haven't received a single book!  Please check your bookshelves and if you have a gently used copy of any of the three books below and feel you could donate that book to a child in need, please send it to Bossier High School, 777 Bearkat Drive, Bossier City, LA  71111, attn:  Mrs. Becker.

Or you can order a new or gently used book from the Amazon links below.  I've been combing all the thrift book stores in town and Goodwill.  I've found exactly TWO copies of our required books.

These books are on our new Common Core curriculum which is unfunded and for which no money is available for books.  In a high poverty school, many of our students are simply not able to go purchase a $10 paperback for class.

These are our current needs:

Again, thanks so much to those who have responded!  I'll update later when I get your supplies in the hands of these kids!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Power of Social Media is Helping Kids!

The power of social media is an awesome thing.
My desperate plea for classroom supplies for my students has reached more people than I thought possible and many good folks have been very generous in helping us.

Again, in a perfect world parents would take responsibility and send their kids to school with proper supplies, but we all know reality is completely different.  Common Core doesn't make it any easier as schools put their dollars to fund new testing and curriculum changes.

The young student can't control the whims of the DOE or the pocketbooks of their parents so I thank you very much for chipping in what you can to help my students.

While I received several very meaningful and critical donations so far, we still have a few needs.  If you can possibly help, you can click on the SOS widget in the sidebar or just purchase directly through the Amazon links below.  If you do Amazon, your contribution should be shipped to Bossier High School, 777 Bearkat Drive, Bossier City, LA, 71111.  It should be marked to the attention of Mrs. Becker (that's me.).  You can make a kid's day!

Again, my students thank you, and I thank you!

(And remember, if you're ordering the novel, a used copy is fine.  Many of the gently used copies are in very good condition and are much cheaper than new.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Asking For a Little Help

It's been a busy month at SIGIS.  Steve and I took ten days, visited six states, visited family, drove part of Route 66, saw a Texas Rangers game, celebrated my grandson's first birthday, rode an historic train, visited Reiman Gardens and the Butterfly House at Iowa State University, visited the old Coffeyville Air Field where my dad took flight training in WWII, and walked "Death Alley" where some of the Dalton Gang met their maker.

I didn't do a "Take a Trip..." post because it was just too much although I did post some pictures along the way.  If you missed the one about The Bloody Benders, scroll down for that.

When I returned from vacation I had just about enough time to unpack before I had to report for jury duty.  It only took three days and as much as I griped about it when I got the summons it turned out to be an experience I'm very grateful for.  I learned a lot, I was part of the justice system for a short time, and our judge was a real jewel.  He brought us doughnuts, even!  And at the end,, after the verdict, he came back to dismiss us, gave us some instructions about talking to media and lawyers, and ended with a prayer.  It was a sobering experience.

School starts in about a week for me and I feel rested and ready to go.  I hope that feeling lasts for a while!  We will be fully implementing the new Common Core curriculum in our school this year and regardless of how I feel personally about the federal takeover of curriculum, I will do my job and teach my students what they need to know to be successful.

Whenever you get these new programs, and they come and go with regularity in education, there is never, never funding to go along with them.  For example, for both my sophomores and my seniors I have a whole new novels list from which to choose their reading material.  The seniors list I can probably work with from resources already on hand, but the sophomore list - no way.  We do not have class sets of those novels.  There may be one of the titles that we have a class set for, but it's not one of the better choices in my personal opinion; it's not one that my students would benefit most from.

I have written a grant to get funding to buy class sets of novels but it won't come through for a while even if I get it.  A majority of our students are impoverished and on free/reduced lunch.  For many of them getting basic supplies such as paper and pen is a challenge.  Buying a $10 paperback novel for class is nearly impossible.  So, I've signed up with SOS: Supply Our Schools, to help these kids.  If you click on the new widget in the sidebar you can help us!

Last year I personally spent at least $500 on notebook paper, spiral notebooks, pencils, erasers, dry erase markers, tissues, hand sanitizer, construction paper, markers, copy paper, computer ink, and I even bought a large-print dictionary for a student who just couldn't read the print in a regular dictionary.

Please consider helping us with a donation (click the widget!).

If you'd prefer to donate through my PayPal widget, that's fine too.

Or, you can help us buy ordering from one of the links below, directly from Amazon, and have it shipped to us at Bossier High School, 777 Bearkat Drive, Bossier City, LA  71111.  It should be addressed to the attention of Mrs. Becker (that's me.)

I'm ready for a new and successful school year, and I think my students will be ready.  While I know that locally there are "Stuff the Bus" campaigns that hopefully get supplies in the hands of kids, sometimes kids just don't like to ask.  And I know that parents should be responsible for buying supplies for their kids but the reality is that it just can't happen for some of them.

I, and my students, appreciate any help you feel moved to give.

Update:  A HUGE HUGE Thank You to Bride of Rove for her Smashbook order!  I'm overwhelmed.  Thank you, so much!

Update II:  Thank you SO MUCH to Karen at Pondering Penguin for the composition books!  Your gift will directly help my English students by providing a place for them to write their daily journals.  I appreciate your generosity more than you know!  Thank you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Loose Thoughts on Shopping and Cultural Annihilation

I hate shopping.  Totally, one-hundred-percent hate.

I set out today into the grand metro-plex that is Shreveport/Bossier City to find one Texas Rangers t-shirt.  I also had to pick up a birthday gift for my grandson but that part was easy.

I looked for this Rangers shirt yesterday at WalMart.  No go.  We also looked at Dick's Sporting Goods yesterday.  Nope.

Today, first stop was Target.  It is not possible to buy a Texas Rangers t-shirt at Target in Shreveport, but you can buy a Hello Kitty microwave (pictured above).  WTH kind of sick mo-fo would put Hello Kitty in a microwave and who would want this in their kitchen?  What's the big fascination with Hello Kitty anyway?  Whhaaaaa....???????

My next stop was Academy Sports where, again, it is not possible to buy a Texas Rangers t-shirt, however, a helpful clerk advised me to "try the internets."  Blast!

To St. Vincent's Mall!  There are "sports" stores in there!  You can buy all the LSU gear, New Orleans Saints gear, Louisiana Tech, and Dallas Cowboys crap you want there, but no Texas Rangers anything.

However, you CAN buy a bottle of Justin Beiber's Girlfriend perfume:  Need eye bleach.

Between that and the ProActive Acne Care talking kiosk which scared the ever loving hell out of me, I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I gave up and went to wash the Jeep.  Car washes are safe.

Then I got a message from a friend directing me to Fantastics! at the Boardwalk in Bossier City who, I'm told, sells Texas Rangers gear.

I fortified myself with two tacos from Taco Bell and set out for the Boardwalk.  Let me just point out that the people who design parking garages are sadists on crack.

I found this store, Fantastics!, and walked in, full of optimism.

The heavens opened up and the angels sang:

There they were.  So many from which to choose!  It was wonderful!  Blues, reds!  Jerseys!  T-shirts!  Shorts!  Tanks!  Caps!  Texas Rangers stuff everywhere!

I grabbed a Darvish t-shirt, paid for it, and got the hell out of Dodge.

Like I said, I hate shopping, and I don't do it often.  From what I saw today, Texas Rangers aside, we are on the verge of cultural annihilation.  The abyss looms.  Justin Beiber, Hello Kitty, cheap tacky plastic flip flops from China and Taiwan, beaded and studded iPhone covers, talking kiosks, and in-the-middle-of-the-mall-massages?

It's all enough to send one to "the internets" when any shopping must be done.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Check Your Flag

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day this week, please take a moment to check your flag for wear, especially if you are a business owner.  (I've seen a few around town that should have been retired long ago!)  If your flag is faded, ripped, or torn, please take it down and replace it.

Old and worn out flags can be delivered or mailed to any American Legion for proper retirement.

And while we're at it, please don't buy an American flag pet bed for your dog, or an American flag swimsuit.  You should probably take a pass on the American flag shoes, too.  And for crying out loud, don't drop your flag to the ground and stomp on it.

The American Flag protocol can be found here.