Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Political Post

Well, folks, I've decided to share some potentially controversial thoughts. 

But first, a photo of my family: 

My wife and I got married last month. Our wedding included a diverse group of people from all over the United States. People with different religious affiliations, political views, cultural experiences, sexual orientations, economic privilege, and perceptions about social justice. 

The ceremony was beautiful; the guests were gracious and friendly; everybody got along. My wife and I wrote all the words spoken by us and our officiant. Some of the words from our ceremony are included below. 

Despite all of our differences,
love is what we all share.
It's the great unifier — our one universal truth.
That no matter who we are,
where we've come from,
what we believe,
we know this one thing:
love is what we're doing right.

Maybe love is not enough. 

I have read so much lately about hate and fear and intolerance. I have seen an increase in people's hostile behavior toward marginalized populations. I have heard and read about people fearing for their lives.

Because I am a person with lots of privilege, I feel less threatened by the divisive political rhetoric than other more marginalized people in this country. There is no chance that I will be deported; I will not have an article of clothing ripped from my body because someone finds it offensive; I will not have to register anywhere due to my religious affiliation. 

I am, however, a left-leaning feminist woman, married to another woman, raising a child, and wanting to feel safe in my community, state, country. I want others to feel safe as well.

Intolerant/aggressive behavior is not new to me. The truth is, I have been assaulted twice in my lifetime as a direct result of being gay. Once, I was punched in the face. Another time someone tried to set me on fire. I have had the outside of my classroom spray-painted with "Dyke." Some people have openly insisted that I should not be a teacher and that I should not talk about my family with my students. 

I could join with others who are terrified. I could be angry about injustices. I could protest and blame and rage on social media. I could rally others to do the same. Actually, in varying degrees, I have participated in all of these things.

Today though, I'm back to love, the great unifier. 

I am an educator. In my classrooms, I have students from so many different backgrounds-- kids whose families are liberal and whose families are conservative-- kids whose families don't vote because they think the system is corrupt-- kids whose families can't vote for various reasons. 

It is my obligation to teach them all to read and write and think and create and collaborate. I meet them where they are, and I move them forward to where they could be. I also teach them to be civil with one another. I model kindness and respect. I am patient and thoughtful. I share honesty and tolerance. I celebrate their differences. ALL of them. 

I love and honor all of my students.

Like at my wedding, I want to be able to meld all those differences into a celebration where everybody gets along and where each person honors the others. Idealistic? Maybe. But that is my activism.

I am going to continue to be a good human. I am going to hold my students to the standard of being good humans. I am going to talk about my family and demonstrate my humanity. I am going to give them space to talk about their families.

I will also join with marginalized populations to fight for what I think is right. I will protest injustices and rally others to do the same. I have been doing this most of my adult life.

I don't believe that any human is inherently bad. That may be the most controversial thing I have said yet! I think we are all doing the best we can, and we want what is best for our families and our communities. Not everyone agrees what is "best," but I hope we can agree that...

Love is what we are doing right.

Mom’s Vacation

My mom is a very curious person. The places that she would like to go see would be Italy, Australia, South America, Mexico, Hawaii,  Bahamas, Caribbean.  She would like to go to Australia because, my mom would like to see a different country. She would like to go study a different culture. My mom would also like to go to Australia to try the different types of food that they have. She would like to go to these countries after she finishes school. My mom will finish school on December 15, 2016. She is going to be a Registered Nurse. She would like to spend some of her money on going on a nice long vacation. We are all looking forward to go to  these nice places but we are going to have to wait a while until we go to these places.

I think that we will have a lot of fun when the time comes to go on a nice vacation. My mom is the best mom that I could ever ask for. My whole family is so proud of her and we cannot all wait until she finishes school to throw her a big party. She has inspired me to try even harder in school and I am so happy that she has pushed me this far.
Marcos B.

Two Truths, One Lie

  1. When I was little, I always loved to read. I started learning to read at the age of 2 by typing on the computer with my dad’s help.I also wrote and drew books in preschool. The teachers let me read them out loud to the preschool class. I filled up a whole shelf with my picture books.
  2. I have a great relationship with my grandparents from my dad’s side. My mom’s side, not so much. My Papa Rocky is my favorite grandpa. He gives me gifts a lot and sometimes candy. I see him every weekend. I love visiting him and I love how easy it is to talk to him. He’s like my second father.
  3. When I was in elementary school, I lived with a little dog named Copper. He was a Papillon mixed breed. He was brown, white, and black and fit perfectly in my arms. He belonged to a housemate who was living with us for awhile. I became very attached to him, however, and he seemed like he was my dog. I always walked him around my neighborhood and played with him constantly.   

Which is the lie?

Riley C.

Movie Review
My movie review is on the movie “Paper Towns.” It is about two kids, Margo and Quentin, who ended up becoming really good friends seeing as they are neighbors. Margo is the kind of girl who is on the more rebellious side. She loves adventures and a good mystery. Now Quentin is that one shy boy who tries to avoid trouble and hates getting in trouble. One night after Quentin regrets going on this huge mystery trip with Margo they stopped being friends. After a couple of years of growing up and not talking to each other, high school hit and they still weren’t friends. Margo became more of someone on the popular crowd and Quentin not so much. Quentin has had a big crush on Margo since the first day they met as kids, but he doesn’t have much of a chance now that she has a more popular boyfriend. Until one night, Margo and Quentin go out together doing the most daredevil things. They soon became friends again but then Margo goes missing. Everyone knew she ran away. Throughout the movie Quentin and his friends go on a trip to try to find Margo. I think this movie is a great movie to watch with your friends and a good romantic-comedy.
By: Katia S.

Two Truths and a Lie

  1. One day my friend and I went to his house, and we both went to a field that had lots and lots of cows in it. We brought airsoft guns just in case we got chased by an overly protective mother. So we crossed the creek, not a care in the world, and there was a mother cow with its baby calf. We were being dumb and we decided to run up on the cow and sure enough, it started to charge. And it chased us until we got back to the fence and left.
  2. One summer vacation we went camping on the ocean. In the middle of the night we heard a loud screech like the sound of when somebody scratches a chalk board. We woke up once we heard it and we wanted to take a peek outside. It was a walrus that was eating all of our food. After we saw it, my dad got out of the tent and he scared it off.
  3. One day me and my friend went to the creek and we drove his quad. Then his mom told us to come home. Once we started to head back, we wanted to eat first so we texted his mom. She said, “ok that's fine.” So we unpacked our lunch and sat on the quad. We were wondering what's gonna be for dinner. Once we finished eating, my friend stepped on a gopher snake that bit him on the foot. Luckily they aren't venomous.
Nicolas G.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A WHOLE BUNCH of Guest Blogs from Students

So many students are taking advantage of the fact that they can complete extra credit assignments for this class all year long! They know they can go to the Guest Bloggers tab above and complete the directions to earn extra points. This blog is an authentic writing opportunity for my students, with readers of all kinds from all over the world. As of the creation of this post, the Sassy Classroom Blog has had over 9,100 views, and the number grows every day.


Question of the Week: Why do you want to help me bring my grades up?

I asked John Ramirez this question. “There are many reasons why I wanted to help you. The first reason is because I enjoy helping students bring their grades up.” That’s why John Ramirez signed up to be an America Reads tutor. John Ramirez took the time to help me, Bianca, bring my grades up.
John Ramirez also believed that I have the potential to get higher grades. After John Ramirez was working with me, he saw a change in my grades and attitude which motivated him to keep helping other students with low grades or who need help with homework.
Also, my tutor thinks in the future he will get to work with people with different backgrounds and ideas. John Ramirez also wants to learn how to help people in a motivating way that can benefit them.
Thanks, John Ramirez, for helping me get my grades up and encouraging me to do better!

Bianca F

Two Truths and a Lie
  1. When I was five I swallowed a ketchup packet. My mom got me a burger and fries from burger king. I wanted ketchup with my fries so I went to grab a ketchup packet . I couldn't open it with my hands so I decided to open it with my teeth. I went to rip it open, but when I did it slipped down my throat and I swallowed it.
  2. My first word was hotdog. I was at my cousin's birthday party and I was hungry. I didn't really talk yet so my mom was pointing to all the food that was at the party. After refusing all the food that was there, my mom just simply asked me what I wanted and I said, “hotdog.”
  3. I absolutely hate watermelon. I don't know what about is I hate but I do. I love anything chocolate,so one day we were having watermelon. My mom asked me if I wanted any and I said no. Just so you know We hat lots of chocolate cake at my house. A an attempt to make me eat watermelon my mom said she would let me eat a whole cake to myself, but I said no. That's how much I hate watermelon.
-Iyanah B

Two Truths and One Lie

  1. One year on Halloween, my dad and I were trick or treating. I was about to leave the door of this man’s house when the man handing out candy asked my name. As an eight year old, I didn’t know not to tell a stranger your name, so I told him my name. My old friend came to the door, and I stayed at their house so her dad and my dad could find our car.
  2. When I was nine, my older sister got a dog and he loved to lay down with me in the living room. He was a great dog, but he loved to eat ear wax. One day we were laying down, and all of a sudden, he started to lick my ear. I didn’t know what he was doing, so I let him and later found out he ate ear wax!
  3. A few month ago my dad got a dog and she loved to sleep with me. She is a big cuddler. One night we were sleeping, and in the morning, my leg felt wet. I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought that my leg was sweating. When I came back into the room, it smelled like pee so I smelled my bed and it was my bed that smelled like pee. From that day forward, my dog is no longer allowed to sleep with anyone.

Sarah A.

Movie Review

It All Started With An Apple is an amazing book. The author, Ashley Winters, is always keeping you on the edge of your seat when you’re reading it. When I read it for the first time I couldn’t put it down. The suspense and the drama throughout the whole story is incredible and well put into the book.

Brianne, Bri for short, the main female lead, is not like most girls you would think of in a book. She’s not into sappy romances; she is very closed off and judgmental.

My favorite character within the book is Bri’s best friend Kyla. I love Kyla so much because she pushes Brianne to do fun things as a teenager. What Kyla did to make me like her so much was when she forced Bri to throw an apple across the cafeteria to see who her future lover is.

When Bri was forced to throw the apple, to her and most readers’ surprise, it hit the most popular boy’s head. His name is Dannon. He is all smiles and rarely has a frown on his face.

After he gives the apple back to Bri, he is constantly following her around. She thinks that he is faking at being “Mr. Happy” and is actually mean, but she was completely wrong. She thinks she knows everything about him, she thinks he is an open book, but little did she know he was hiding a secret from everyone he knows.

Within this suspenseful and dramatic book, there are a lot of laughs and certainly a lot of tears, love and loss. What makes this book so great to me is that through all of their difficulties there was always happiness.

Sarah A.

Two Truths and a Lie

  1. Once, when I was younger, I went camping. On the second night while camping, there was a bear who went through our tents while we were sleeping. The next night, we left our roof of our tent open and it rained and the tent flooded. That morning, we went back home.
  2. One time I was at home during the summer and I was bored, plus there was nothing to do… but one thing, to climb my favorite tree. I had already done it so many times I was getting bored of climbing it normally, so I decided to climb the tree in roller skates to the top. When my mom came home later, I called from the tree, “ Hi mom!” She looked around and couldn’t see me, so she called, “Where are you?” I climbed down and told her everything, and then we went inside for dinner.
  3. One year, on Christmas day, when I went out to the living room, I saw what looked like 100 presents there. I saw my parents, my sister, my brother, and my grammy already in there eating breakfast, waiting for me so we could open presents. I asked, “Why are you up so early? Isn’t it around 7:00 am, and Grammy, why are you here so early too?” Grammy said, “ Well Ducky, it’s almost 11:00 in the morning.” I said “What? So late? Well, let’s just start opening presents already!” So we started opening them.

   By: Ducky R.

Below is an interview by Lucie D to learn about Amanda's life goals.

Interviewer: Amanda, what is your aspiration in life?

“I hope to become a police officer.”

Interviewer: Why do you hope to become a police officer?

“Because it looks easy and it would be fun pulling people over seeing what people do.” Amanda later explains that that's not really the reason she wants to become a police officer but that the danger and fun of the job compels her.

Interviewer: What inspired this dream?

“Uummm, well, I went to this Butte County thing. Like this field trip thing I mean. And we watched this video about the police catching the bad guys doing drugs, and they needed to practice being a police officer, and they put pepper spray in their eyes, and it looked really awesome, and I loved the soundtrack.”

Interviewer: Tell me more about this Butte County event.

“Well, as I said earlier, it was a field trip, and we visited all the career activities, and I loved the police officer stuff, and it was just really fun!”

Interviewer: Are you aware of the dangers of becoming a police officer?

“Yes, I'm aware. That's why I wear a BULLET. PROOF. VEST.”

Interviewer: Are you training yet?

“Well yeah. Every Sunday I go hunting with my daddy.”

Interviewer: How are you going to live with leaving your family every day knowing you might not come home?

“I think that they will pray for me and hope that I make it back home every day at 9:30 unless I'm late. And if I'm not home at 9:30, then they will probably need to come find me.”

Interviewer: Thank you for your time, Amanda.

“No problem. Glad I could come. Have a great day.”

Interviewer: You too.

Two Truths and a Lie
  1. Last year I went to watch my cousin play soccer in Sacramento. It was the game that if you win, you move on, but if you lose, you go home. It was very intense. I knew that he was scared because there was a lot of pressure on him. He was a defender, so if the people in front of him don't get the ball, he is the last man. It is very difficult. It was half time. They were tied. They had some close calls but no goals. They had three minutes left they were all tired but they put in some new people in. They did some good passing, then we got a breakaway and scored. We were up one to zero and when they put the ball in the middle, they blew the whistle and we won the game one to zero!
  2. Last summer I went to Las Vegas to see my older brother. He just finished medical school and was going to be a doctor at the age of 29. He was graduating from college and we were all so proud of him. When we got his papers we all yelled, we were all so happy for him.
  3. Last week we were in Corning and we were playing a soccer game. We have lost the last couple of games that we played, but we did not have our heads down because we were feeling it. We were all pumped up. Once that whistle went off, we were right to the ball. We were playing a perfect game, and we scored in the first half. They almost did but we stopped it. It was the second half and we were playing solid defense and we ended up winning.

Question of the Week: What’s your favorite food?

Mrs. Davis’ favorite food is sushi. Her whole family eats sushi. Whenever they go out to eat somewhere they always go to the exact same place called Izakaya Ichiban. When they go there, they will order the same exact thing and sit at the same exact table and the people that work there know them.  When it’s time for her family to order, Ange and Mrs. Davis share the salmon plate, and Eva eats the California Roll and the nigiri sushi. The whole family will order miso soup. The three of them eat with chopsticks. Eva has been eating with chopsticks since she was a little girl. They have been going this restaurant for 3 years since they opened. When Mr. Caldera called her one day and said she got the job to work here, Mrs. Davis was at Izakaya Ichiban. She says, “Izakaya Ichiban is my lucky place to eat because all good things happen there.”
Jada S.

Two Truths and a Lie
  1. I have been to New York twice, and I have gotten on a boat once. I almost fell out of the boat trying to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Since I'm scared of getting on boats, I have never gotten on a boat since that day. 
  2. Last year when I went camping, we were outside making s’mores until like 1 in the morning. Then we went into our tent. I started hearing noises outside. There were a bunch of raccoons surrounding our tent and my uncles, I yelled and everyone woke up inside the tent. 
  3. When me and my sister were on a trip, I called her a piece of trash because she was making me mad. She told me to get out of her car. We were like a mile away from the house, and she never came back for me. I had to go walking home alone. 
-Nadia A

Movie Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
A couple of weeks ago, I went to the movies, not quite sure of what I was going to see. When I arrived at the theater, I saw  “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was showing. It looked interesting, so I gave it a shot. I was not disappointed. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was a decent movie.
While it wasn’t my favorite due to the casting, the storyline was very well written. There were some twists that I did not expect. I really liked how the movie held my attention the whole time. There were no boring parts. However, I do feel that they could have chosen better actors. Some of the acting seemed very fake and forced, like they were trying to convince me that this one thing was happening while it was extremely obvious that it wasn’t. Overall, I enjoyed it besides a couple parts where the acting could be better. I would recommend this film to all who are interested in seeing something fun.
Riley C.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Outsiders Projects

What creative students I have!

In small groups, students chose a character from the novel, The Outsiders, and created a 3-dimensional presentation about the inside and outside of that character. Here are the directions for The Outsiders Group Project. The students then worked together all week to prepare their masterpieces, with an 
oral presentation at the end.

Here are some photos of their great work:


Question of the week
I asked Mrs. Davis “What did you do this summer?”

As you know Mrs.Davis got married recently. All summer long she was planning her wedding. She and her wife didn't really want to spend a lot of money so all they did was borrow things from friends and family. Mrs.Davis bought three wedding dresses and one was too small. The other she didn't like but the third one was the one that she liked a lot. She was like Goldilocks. The wedding dresses were twenty dollars a piece which was a good deal. The only thing she really paid for was a photographer to take pictures. Professional photos cost $900! She showed us some pictures of her wedding which took place in a backyard of one of her friends.
Nico G


The Outsiders by S.E Hinton, is a not just a book but a story. The characters reach out to you. Every sentence they speak in the book brings you to imagine their face and the sadness or happiness in their eyes. The stress that they have begins to become yours, too. The hate impressed onto the two groups, the Greasers and the Socs, for each other is very real and unpredictable. After just a few chapters in the book you will find yourself unintentionally picking a side. This story is so well written that it hits everybody in a different way. It has a certain beauty to it. Take music for example, it makes everyone feel different according to their current situations. For me, The Outsiders gave me a sense of home when I was lost in the book. For others, well, there is no way to tell how it will make them feel. But I guarantee, no matter your situation, this book will make you feel good.

-Lucie D.

Two Truths and a Lie

  1. In 2013 I was skiing and a snowboarder crashed into me and I broke my wrist.  It was my last run of the day and I was headed down from the summit of Sugar Bowl. To this day I hate snowboarders.
  2. A couple of years ago me and my family traveled to Hawaii. We got to stay on a Military only hotel/military base. I also got trapped in a Rip current and I spent about 30 minutes trying to get out and no one noticed because I went to the beach alone. They didn’t find out until I got back to the hotel and told them.
  3. About 5 years ago I joined a martial arts studio. I’ve worked my way up and have received a junior black belt in Tae-kwon-do and in Hapkido. To this day I still attend classes and still rank up.
- Hank

Two Truths and a Lie

  1. When I was 12 years old I got my first phone. I was so excited to get my first phone. My mom and dad promised me to get me a phone when I was mature enough. They got me a phone on my birthday as a birthday present. When I got my first phone after a couple of months it broke. But now I have a new phone and I can text my friends and family.
  2. When I grow up I want to own 8 dogs. They are mostly so annoying but they are so cute. I don’t really like them, most of the time. They have such weird ears. I want to have 4 german shepherds and 4 pitbulls.
  3. On September 16, I went to Reno Nevada for a wedding. I went with the bride and groom and their daughter. It was my first time going there, and it was beautiful seeing all the lights. The next day it was the wedding day and we all got ready and had a wonderful time there.

-Bianca F