Sunday, January 11, 2009

join in

About half of the school year has gone by. Have you joined any clubs or sports or activities? It's a good time to try something new. You know, new year, new club, new sport... Did you make a resolution to make more friends? Check if your school's having a play and try out for a part or help with the stage crew plus they'll need scene builders and artists. Are there winter or spring intramurals you could try? What about chorus? Are you killer at rock band? Maybe you can learn to play an actual instrument with actual music. That would be cool. Look around and see if there's anything to try. Maybe you could start an anime club or a fashion club. New year, new club, new friends.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

tell on yourself

Possible crisis:

you're using a laptop at school. that's not the problem.

you're typing a project on the laptop. that's not the problem.

you lean over to help your neighbor with spelling. not the problem. (although sometimes you can get in trouble for that)

while you were leaning over a key popped off the laptop. could be a problem.

you toss the loose key on the floor. ooooh bad idea.

you try to conceal the key behind the table leg on the floor. ok.

you log off the laptop and put it away. um

you head out to your next class. the guilt isn't too bad.

attention... here comes the problem.

the next kid wants to use the laptop you had but it's missing a key. that kid tells the teacher. the teacher investigates and discovers YOU had the laptop last period.

teacher calls you from Spanish class to come to the library where the laptop sits without a key. you walk really slowly thinking about your lie.

The best course of action here is to tell on yourself. I'm not kidding. The teacher is only going to get angrier the more you lie. You're caught. Take your punishment quietly. Say you're sorry for breaking the key. Say you should have told on yourself right away. Say you're sorry for trying to hide the broken piece. Say that you just got really worried and kind of panicked. Look sorry. a tiny tear in the corner of your eye would be good.

If you decide not to tell on yourself but go with the lies then the problem will just grow and the punishment will grow, too. Your principal will be notified that you damaged expensive school property. Your parents will be notified that they have a large computer repair bill. You may lose computer privileges at school. This can get way bigger that you want it to.

People mess up. We learn to take the consequences and don't mess up that way again. usually.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

purple pants?

Can you picture a really tall 8th grade boy who came to school wearing bright purple skinny jeans? He's also wearing a black and white belt, bright yellow t-shirt with green swirls and his shoes match the shirt... Is this a fashion forward guy setting trends or an unfortunate fashion failure who should return that outfit to the store?
Picture a girl who is wearing a brand new sweater dress that's cute but too small for her body so she looks kind of lumpy even though she's not?
This time of year is like a fashion show at school. We get to see all kinds new and unique outfits - some cool, some scary, some hilarious. Lots of kids (and teachers) get clothes for Christmas and other holidays then can't wait to wear the new stuff to school. Look around this week. See if you agree with the fashion risks some kids are willing to take. Maybe you're trying out some new fashion looks, too. Have fun with your clothes and be nice to that kid in the purple pants by not singing Barney the dinosaur songs. Who knows, the purple thing might catch on and we'll all be wearing them next year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

bad words

Did you ever hear a teacher drop a bad word on a class or a kid? Was it an accident or on purpose? Is the teacher angry a lot or does he just have a problem with potty mouth?
See if you can tell the difference.
a. Hey everyone, clean up your sh.... I mean clean up your papers because this class period is almost over.
b, Hey everyone, clean up your sh.... sheets of paper because this class period is almost over.
c. Hey everyone, clean up your shit and get out of my room right now!
d. Hey (insert name of naughty kid), take your shit and get out of my room right now!

let's discuss.
a. I think this was an accident. Teacher might have a slightly red face and really doesn't mean to curse at the class.
b. I think this was also a slip of the tongue but the teacher smoothly covered it up with another SH word. Clever.
c. This looks like an angry moment. Teachers can sometimes be pushed over the politeness and patience edge. Can't get in trouble for this one. Not the best choice of words though.
d. A teacher has lost professional control here. Cursing directly at one student is not acceptable behavior for teachers. They are human and do occasionally make mistakes. They don't take guns to clubs and shoot themselves in the leg and have to miss the rest of the school year!
So what should you do if your teacher drops a bad word? It's up to you. If it happens often (and it should not) you can talk to your parents about it. You could also talk to a guidance counselor or another teacher you trust and tell them that the cursing is starting to bother you. It's ok to talk about it. The teacher might not realize that the bad words are getting out of control. You deserve to have happy school days, not stressful ones.

Friday, November 21, 2008

holiday parties

Are you looking forward to spending quality time away from school? Are you ready for some parties? Will your family parties be fun or dull? Are your friends having any parties you can look forward to? It's time to think about how to handle yourself at these parties. With a little preparation, you'll be able to survive nosey questions from Aunt Lisa and Uncle Dave's same old jokes. What will you do when you're not eating turkey or pie? Are you interesting? Do you have any funny stories to tell? Will you be forced to play with the little kids? What if you're the littlest kid in the house and they still treat you like you're 8?
Calm down. I don't want to put you into panic mode. Let's start with family parties. You probably know everyone at the party so you don't have to worry about impressing new people. What will you talk about? It's ok to plan ahead and think of a funny story to tell when someone asks you what's going on at school. Maybe you're trying out for a winter sport or the spring musical. You could talk about tryouts and what kind of stuff you had to do. think of details that make your stories interesting to adults. Tell about difficult drills or funny things the coach does if a kid does something wrong. Try asking questions, too. You don't always have to be the one answering stuff. Ask your Uncle if he played any school sports? Did they have cuts? Did they have to wear those crazy short-shorts with tall socks? Did they do any of the same drills that you're learning now?
If you're not into sports then maybe you have another fun activity you like to do. Can you bring along your bead box or favorite scrap book? Show your family something about yourself and dont' forget to ask about their interests, too. did they vote for the President? Did they feel happy or sad about the winners? Why, exactly do they have that opinion and do you agree?

One thing I don't want you to do at the parties is.... text. Be at the party. Be fun and talk to the people at the party. Do not sit in the corner and text. It's boring. It makes you look like you don't like anyone at the party. Ok, maybe you don't like anyone at the party. fake it. stay off your phone and get to know the people around you.
Have some more pie!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

they hate it

You're just hangin out listening to some music. Music you like. You feel great.

Parent: turn that down. It's too loud.
You: I'm just listening to music.
Parent: I shouldn't be able to hear it through your headphones. Now turn it down.
You: OK. FINE. Now I can't even listen to good music!
Parent: That's not good music. It's just crap with kids screaming.
You: This is the best music ever. It's a lot better than your stupid music from ancient times!
Parent: What? My music is still great today. You have no idea what good music is.
You: Right, on the OLDIES stations. Do you even know any of the artists I like?
Parent: um, Carrie Underwood?
You: NO
Parent: ok, Aerosmith?
You: eeeewwwwwhhhh. No.
Parent: ok, then who do you think is so great?
You: (it doesn't matter what you say here unless your parent watches MTV with you, she will probably not know your music at all and thus, HATES it.)
Parent: well, what's the song about?
You: falling in love.
Parent: Why are you listening to that? You're too young to date and fall in love anyway.
You: You can't be serious!

This conversation has been taking place for a long, long time. Parents hate their kids' music. It's kind of a rule of nature. Parents hated Elvis when teenagers thought he was awesome. His dancing was way too sexual. Parents hated Chubby Checker because his music was too sexually suggestive. Parents despised the Beatles with their LONG HAIR and crazy romantic songs. They hated AC/DC, Kiss, Rolling Stones, Jackson 5, Rap. When RUN DMC started rapping parents thought it was ridiculous talking that was so stupid it would be gone in 5 minutes. They were so wrong. I could go on naming new kinds of music and parents who hated it. Yes, they hated it all.
It's just how things are in this world. Next time your parents start getting mad about your music, try turning the conversation around. Ask what your dad listened to when he was a teenager? Did his dad like it? What about your grandpa? Ask him what he listened to and if HIS dad liked it? Listen to what you like and if it's too loud, just turn it down for a while but keep listening. Remember this conversation when you're the parent! Rock on!

Friday, November 14, 2008

not at the table

The cell phone, while it is a very important part of our lives, does not belong at the table. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. I know it's a wild idea! Let me explain. When people are using the phone during meals, it makes me feel like whatever I might want to talk about is not important. If you're having lunch with ME, please talk to ME. Your other friends who are on the phone can wait. ok, you just give them a BRB message then get back to them a little later. Please try to let your phone have a rest during meals. I'm serious and it's just bad manners if you don't. Talk to the people you're sitting with. Ask a question about something. have a conversation with your family. Smile. Laugh. Have a nice, relaxing meal and eat your broccoli, too!