Universal Grade Change

Because of Thanksgiving I only need to be at work for two days this week (Halle-freaking-lujah). So I decided to share something that a student gave me that makes me smile every time I look at it. A Universal Grade Change form.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “How could this make her smile?” believe me it’s hilarious. Basically the exchange went as follows:

Student: “Ms. Barnaby, I have something for you.”

Me: “Sure, what is it?”

*I glance at the heading*

Me: “Are you serious?! You really want me to improve your grade from last quarter?!”

Student: “Ms. Barnaby, keep reading”

*I read on*

Me: “Oh… heh heh heh…”

*I read a little more”

Me: “Oh My God! Where did you get this?! This is literally my favorite thing ever!”

Student: “Am I gonna be famous?”

Me: “Yes… Yes you will, I am going to tell my students about this every year and I am going to keep this sheet of paper forever!”


My personal favorite is “The person I copied off of got a better grade than I did”, and “I studied details details but you expected us to know general principles”. Ah! Well played sir… well played indeed.


Audiobook Review: Silver Linings Playbook

Matthew Quick has written an absolutely captivating story in his best seller Silver Linings Playbook. Most people will know this story from the film adaptation starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. While this adaptation is just as wonderful as the book, it took a turn towards Hollywood when it ended with a predictable on the nose scene. The book is deeper in a lot of ways, while both examine the same themes.

This book is a clear psychological examination of those who develop a mental illness very suddenly. Jenny Lawson takes a biographical point of view when examining lifelong mental illness in Furiously Happy. Quick uses a fictional story to display how emotional trauma can bring on a sudden shift in someones ability to psychologically handle every day life. For the narrator, Pat, it was the shock of discovering his wife in the shower with another man. This event threw Pat into a dark spiral in which he brutally beat the man his wife was having an affair with, and ended up in a high security mental facility. Upon his release he quickly meets Tiffany, who went through a similar experience when her husband died suddenly. She went into a spiral of sexual encounters that resulted in her losing her job and living at home. They eventually find each other and become dance partners which leads to a one sided romance for Tiffany.

While mental illness is the main theme, it also examines the dangers of an extreme love of sports. Pats experiences as a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles helps bring him closer to some people and tears him away form others. He experiences a high tolerance for violence, and a low tolerance for mental illness. He sees a mentally ill football player ruthlessly roasted by Eagles fans who encourage him to commit suicide. He also witnesses Eagles fans taunt the fan of an opposing team and his son to the point where the son cried and Pat knocked the fan out. Pat’s father’s love of the team leads him to push his family away. The reason for Pat’s short temper and his failure as a husband becomes clear when Pat’s father violently yells at his wife because the Eagles lost.

Overall this book is a gem. It looks like a sports story on the surface, but it is so much deeper than that. It makes people think about multiple points of views and what needs to be done for the sake of those we love. It is a book I highly recommend, and the audible audiobook available for free to audible members is definitely worth listening to.


Guys, I May Be Going A Bit Overboard…

As a fun activity for a half day at school, I’m teaching my honors class the Dwarvish Rune Alphabet used by Tolkien on Thorin’s map in The Hobbit. I always like to do this because it gets the kids immersed in the text by decoding language and phonetically examining English. So I did what I normally do: make copies and write the bell work prompt on the board. I kind of ended up writing both the journal prompt and the date in dwarvish. I also included the hobbit work for November and the elvish translation. I need to learn to calm down. Please don’t judge my dwarvish spelling… I’m no linguist.


Dorktastic Dress-up: Hobbit Outfit Number 1

I know that it is no longer spirit week, and I know that I haven’t posted an actual book review to my book review blog in a long time, but I just cannot resist throwing myself into whichever unit I’m teaching. For my Poe unit last month I had a couple t-shirts that I threw on. For The Hobbit I’m pushing it a smidge further.  I have a rather large collection of Tolkien themed clothing that I cycle through while teaching this masterpiece. Yes, I get rather over enthusiastic when presented with a topic as nerdy as Tolkien. And yes my enthusiasm has already resulted in me having a heated debate with an 8th grader about the proper pronunciation of Smaug (it’s smOWg not smOg. Tolkien wrote a pronunciation guide and “au” is definitely a diphthong that combines two vowel sounds to make one the OW sound!). The point is… that I will out nerd my eighth graders all day long and they can correct my Middle Earth pronunciation the day they take a linguistics class that thoroughly covers the phonetic alphabet! Whew… I need to stop getting so worked up about this. The real point is that as long as I’m teaching something I love, I will have as much fun as possible. Even if my students aren’t enjoying my unit, I most definitely will.

Below you will see my Middle Earth map sweatshirt paired with my Hobbit book cover earrings.


Spirit Week Day 5: Pajamas

If ever there was a day to participate in spirit week, it is definitely pajama day. I have never been so comfortable in my life. Wearing my crazy soft and warm once to school while my kids play review games has definitely been the highlight of my week. I adore this assemble that was gifted to me by my grandmother (she definitely wears these too and we are always matching when I visit). And yes I do have bus duty on Fridays, and yes I have been waving at parents with gusto while pairing my pjs with a windbreaker and my cat ear beanie. What a time to be alive!


Spirit Week Day 3: Sports

My dad is a Tour de France fanatic and I recently became one too. So in honor of his favorite sport, I have donned my very yellow Tour de France gear. This outfit includes: a yellow t-shirt, a yellow hat, a yellow flag, a yellow neck warmer thing (that I use to hold my hair back when I wash my face) and a polkadot hair ribbon paired with a green hair ribbon (because you can’t have TOO much yellow in your Tour outfit). Each color has a specific meaning in the Tour. Yellow= best overall time. Green= fastest sprinter. Polkadot= king of the mountains or best climber. There are also a white jersey for the fasted rider under 25 years old. Unfortunately, none of my kids know any of this, and so far today I have been called a Minion, Spongebob, and the girl from Wendy’s. Ah well, at least some of the staff know whats up. VIVE LE TOUR DE FRANCE! TEAM FROOM!

“It never gets easier, you just go faster”

-Greg LeMond, 3-time winner of the Tour de France


Spirit Week Day 2: Camouflage

I live in a community of hunters and campers and just generally outdoorsy people. I love being outdoors but I do not own a single stitch of camouflage… until now. Over the weekend I went out and purchased a few items of camo for this spirit day, and overall I think it turned out pretty well. It may not be one the same level as the student wearing a Ghillie suit, but I do have kids calling me Sergeant which is very satisfying. I’ll call it a tribute to all the veterans in my family. 🙂