Monday, June 27, 2005


As you've no doubt figured, I had a bit of a rough year at school. Today, the last full day (I have a half-day with the runts tomorrow), was no different from any other day. By that I mean things started off fairly OK and soon degenerated into degenerates screaming at each other over petty offenses. In other words, I got the shit annoyed out of me, as per usual. S. and R. were particularly in fine form today, and someone drew a butt with a penis in it on the chalk board. Real fine specimens, you see.

Don't get me wrong, I've got some kickass kids. E. blew away all the tests and is fun, to boot. N. is an amazing artist, even when she is a pain. There are funny ones, clever ones, and moral ones. It's just that the pains are so much louder, in every sense of the word.

So today, while I was trying to calm S. and R. down while trying to get I. and K. to sit the hell down and A. to clean up his goddam mess, Ms. Muscato came by. She tought class 102 this year. The "02" classes are reserved for gifted and talented students. Our school doesn't completely split up the classes, but a lot of the top academic kids are put in one place for excellence. Otherwise, everyone is mixed heterogenously, which, I think (and research shows) is the best way to do it. Anyway, next year I'm supposedly going to teach 202, so, basically, Ms. Muscato's class.

She brought me a pile of letters they had written me, as a way of introducing themselves. They wrote better than some of my third-going-to-fourth graders, and some read on higher reading levels. But the juxtaposition of these great letters while my current students basically wandered around like genetic detritus was a rather potent one. Here's to next year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Also something for you to know

I now have a biweekly column at the New Comic Book Galaxy. Go check it out! Also, the rest of the content there is great, better than my stuff. But at least my column this week can be understood by non comic geeks.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Just So You Know

Freeze tag is still an awesome game. It is just damn fun. Took my kids to a park for a field day today and ended up playing some tag with them. I had to be reminded of the "three times" rule. But the rest came to me quickly. EVERYone got into it, no matter how badass they usually try to act. Freeze tag frickin RULES.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Actual Content

As the school year winds down, I've been pretty busy. The paperwork is mountainous, but my old nerd habits help me get it done pretty quickly. I'm honestly really happy this year is over. I'm done with this group, sadly. Too many kids that grate on my nerves too much.

We got our test scores in. Did better than I expected, which is great. Some kids did REALLY well. Unfortunately, a few may have to go to summer school. Some of them, kids that worked their ass of this year and came up a LOT . . .just didn't do well on the idiotic test.

Last night was our schools end-of-term/retirement party. Open bar and a room full of educators, you get the picture. Of course, since the men at my school are either married, gay, or me, I got treated like a piece of meat. You don't know uncomfortableness until your principal has her hands on your ass showing you how to "dance Spanish." But it'll all be worthwhile if I get the class I want next year.

One of the new teachers, a blue-eyed skinny blonde, came up to me while we were dancing. "Have you ever felt more white in your life?" she asked.

"Yes, last year, when you people weren't here," I replied.

My parents are in town. They're on their way to meet me here. This'll be the firs ttime they see my new place. I hate having my parents over. There's always something wrong. It's one of the few times they make me neurotic. BUT we at least get some good tacos and delicious pastries out of the deal. And I might end up with a dinette set. Then to Brooklyn Heights to see Alex at the comic shop and dinner at the Chip Shop. Mmmmmm, fried Snickers . . .mmmmmm.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I'm actually just posting this so I can print it out at school tomorrow. But, hey, read about this stuff, it's awesome.

Dear Friends,

Here is the latest news from 826NYC.

-Upcoming Events
-Upcoming Workshops
-Summer Programs
-Wish List


Seminars: Writing and Publishing the Short Story

Tuesday, June 7
826NYC (372 Fifth Avenue)
Moderated by Charles McGrath, recent editor of The New York Times Book Review
Panelists include:

-Tom Perrotta, author of Election and Bad Haircut
-Shalom Auslander, author of Beware of God
-Adam Haslett, author of You Are not a Stranger Here
-Jennifer Carlson, agent with the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency
-Daniel Menaker, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Random House

Reservations may be made by calling 718.499.9884

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, a reading hosted by David Sedaris

Tuesday, July 5
The Great Hall at Cooper Union (East 7th St. and 3rd Avenue)
Tickets may be ordered at
or by calling Ticket Central at 212.279.4200

David Sedaris, along with Sarah Vowell, hosts an evening to celebrate the release of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, the book he edited this year of his favorite short stories. There will be readings by several of the book’s contributors, including Lorrie Moore, Charles Baxter, Akhil Sharma, Joyce Carol Oates and maybe even a few surprise special guests.


Everyone's a Comedian: Write Your Own Jokes and Riddles
Taught by Marcy Zipke
Limited to 10 students, ages 8-11
1 Sunday session: June 12
For students who want to be the funniest kid on the block: This workshop will teach you how to create your own zany riddles. We will learn to manipulate language to make up original jokes and riddles based on whatever subject matter you choose.
By the end of this workshop, each student will create a personalized and illustrated riddle book to take home.

Skate and Create: How to Totally Create Your Own Skateboard Zine
Taught by Justin Hocking
Limited to 8 students, ages 11-16
3 Saturday sessions: June 11, 18, 25
In this workshop, we’ll actually go skateboarding in Manhattan’s Riverside Skatepark, where we’ll take some photos of ourselves dorking around. While we’re at it, we may also take artsy pictures of squirrels, birds, trees and airplanes. After we get rad, we’ll pool our various artistic contributions and create our very own skate zine. Skateboarders of all levels are welcome.
You’ll need to provide your own skateboard, as well as protective knee and elbow pads and a helmet.

From Start to Finish: A Poetry Workshop
Taught by Aimee Kelley
Limited to 10 students, ages 12-16
2 Monday sessions: June 20 & 27
In this class we will work on creating, revising, and presenting our own poems. We will look at poems by other poets, and try our hand at forms and exercises to get our pens flowing. After creating and honing our poems, we will present them to the class in a reading. Bring your favorite poem if you have one, and your imagination!


Story Hour
Elementary school students (and their parents)
Sundays, 1-2pm (July 10-August 28)
Each week will follow a similar format: We'll read a book aloud, talk about the story, and then an activity will take place. For example, one week may involve reading Green Eggs and Ham, talking about gross food, then challenging each student to devise a recipe to make [insert gross thing here] appealing (like Iron Chef, but with slug juice). Certain weeks we may have surprise guests (authors/artists) drop by and help read or answer questions.

Story Writing
All students
Sundays & Tuesdays, 2:30-5:30pm (starting mid-July)
In lieu of drop-in, we'll hold story writing sessions twice a week. Tutors will be available to help students working on independent writing projects. Other students will be given a weekly theme (monkeys, how-to guides, the color green, etc.) and challenged to write stories, which we'll put into a Gigantor Book publication. The last hour we'll devote to printing, binding, and decorating the booklets.

Summer Playwrights
Middle school students
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00-5:00pm (July 5-21)
*Performance on Friday, July 22nd*
Over the course of three weeks 15 middle school students will write, direct, and produce an original play. At the end of the course, the play will be performed in the round (on our new deck!) in the backyard. This program's teachers include volunteer playwrights, actors, directors, choreographers, and designers.

Young Adult Writer’s Colony
High school students
Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00pm (July 6-August 31)
This summer, 15 high school students will complete their first novels. They will meet twice weekly in groups of five to workshop their writing; each group will have plenty of opportunities to speak with guest authors, editors, and agents. In addition, students will have access to our writing center during quieter hours, when they might add to and perfect their manuscripts. And when the summer’s over and each student's manuscript is the best it can possibly be, we will devote our time and energies to putting each novel in print.


-MLA Handbooks
-Chicago Manual of Style
-Flash Drive, 513MB
-Digital Camera
-DV Video Camera
-Office Chairs
-Picnic Table & Chairs (for our new deck!)
-Patio Umbrella (also for the deck)
-G4s & G5s
-G3 Memory (for iMacs & Power MacG3s.)
-Internal IDE Drives
-Standard Single Button Apple Mice
-Flat Screen Monitors (Mac compatible)

For more information about making a donation, please email All in-kind donations are tax-deductible.


372 Fifth Avenue (between 5th and 6th streets in Park Slope)
Brooklyn, NY 11215

826NYC is a nonprofit writing center dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, after-school workshops, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student's power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.