Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Secret Chew (How to Hide Gum in Class)

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Hiding gum in class is a specialized skill—as useful as multiplying or writing the five-paragraph essay.

CeCee: Why’s that, Luce?

Lucy: Because a lot of teachers get very worked up over the gum thing. We know—you’d think teachers have better things to expend their energy on, but for some reason, chewing gum on their watch gets many teachers’ undies in a bunch (scary visual alert). And, let’s face it—gum is necessary!

CeCee: It does alleviate stress and give you something to do in class while listening to coma-inducing subjects, such as photosynthesis and noun conjugation.

Lucy: Plus, there could be emergency circumstances—like you’re doing a lab with your crush and you have narsty mystery meat breath from lunch.

CeCee: An added bonus is that, if done correctly, chewing gum in class gives you that look of laid-back nonchalance.

Lucy: In other words, you look cool. The ultimate goal when chewing gum is to have your peers notice but not the teacher. When your peers notice, they’ll be secretly jealous and think you’re extra awesome for rebelling against the cardinal gum rule—unless you get caught, of course!

CeCee: Then, they’ll secretly gloat as you stagger over to the trashcan while your teacher screams like a banshee.

Lucy and CeCee: To avoid such a scenario, we recommend you practice chewing gum in your most clueless teacher’s class first while following these guidelines.

L&C’s How to Chew Gum on the Sly Tips 

1) Unwrap the gum and place in mouth before entering class. (This sounds like a big duh, but some people mindlessly unwrap their sweet treat right in front of the teacher—only to get busted seconds later.)

2) Chew quietly and stealthily by making your chews small and with your mouth shut! No big dramatic jaw movements. If the teacher’s back is turned, you may feel like chewing louder, cracking, or chomping on your gum, but don’t. You’re bound to forget to stop when the teacher turns around, and then game over! And remember—no matter how tempting it is, no bubbles!

3) If called on to answer a question, your chances of getting caught have just multiplied, but you have some options. You can:

slide the gum over to the back right or left side of your mouth and answer the question;

quickly cough or clear your throat, spit the gum in your hand, and put it back in after you answer the question; or

just swallow it.

4) Be warned that if you bungle any of the above, your teacher will surely confront you with “Are you chewing gum?” Some teachers will even go so far as to have you open your mouth and stick your tongue out. This desperate display of teacher authority is—of course—ridiculous, but then there are ridiculous teachers out there who think gum chewing is the ultimate violation.

Stuff You’ll Need:
Clueless teacher

Dear Diary ~
Arghhhhh! I was so excited about Josh’s note, I forgot 2 hide my gum and proceeded 2 blow a bubble right N the middle of Mr. Kragler’s slice-and-dice demonstration. I mean, what kinda sadist dissects innocent frogs anywayz? Mr. Kragler is obviously a kid and animal hater.

It’s just my luck that Josh finally wants 2 meet me face-2-face, and I get busted 4 gum! Now, I’m sitting N the stupid dean’s office with the other fixtures while Ms. Quinn calls my house. I already told her my parents R at work, but she doesn’t believe me. Now, she’s leaving a message about my habitual gum violations. How moronic!

So, what should I do? Maybe I should just run 4 it. But then, I’d get busted 4 sure. That Shakespeare dude was right. The course of true love never did run smooth. (Hey, Ms. Snow would be proud!) I know—I’ll write Josh a note declaring my love.

Hearts and twinkling tiaras,

Dear Josh ~

SS I couldn’t meet U third period. I totally got busted 4 chewing gum. How stupid is that? What U need 2 know is I am totally crushing on U 2! Some people (my BFF included) think you’re going out with Kandi Klass, but I happen 2 know U have better taste than that.

So, we should totally go out becuz I think you’re awesome! Call me tonight, babycakes!

Hearts and unicorns 4-eva,
285-8585 (cell)

(Note folded and sealed with Bonnie Bell Watermelon Pink Lip Smacker Star Glaze kiss)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

To Club or Not to Club

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy and CeCee: So, you put in a full day at school. Why should you stay after an extra two hours just to be in an extracurricular club? Actually, it turns out we both think clubs are supercool and totally worth the extra time (for different reasons, of course).

Why Clubs Are Cool by CeCee: Clubs are cool because you can hobnob with comrades who have common interests and goals. You can interact with your teachers outside of class and get to know them better. Also, you will come to establish quality traits like social responsibility and leadership skills. By joining a club and becoming involved, you feel more connected to the school community and become a “part” of things.

Why Clubs Are Cool by Lucy: You can meet guys. So, basically, there are three types of clubs: academic, athletic, and social. Some clubs require that you be voted in or try out—like student government or cheerleading—but most just require enthusiasm and willing attitude.

Typical Middle School Clubs:

Future Problem Solvers
Environmental club
Science olympiad
Spanish/French/German and other foreign language clubs
Sports (basketball, volleyball, softball, gymnastics, football, soccer, etc. )
Debate club
D&D (Dungeons and Dragons)
Student council/government
Dance troupe or drill team
Science fiction club
Book club
School newspaper

Personal Note from CeCee: Don’t shun the academic clubs. Case in point: My math skills and confidence were positively wretched in the sixth grade until I joined Mathcounts. Since then, my grades and test scores have totally improved. Don’t get me wrong—math will never be my favorite subject, but when our Mathcounts team competes against other schools and wins, it’s pure binomial bliss!

Madison Messenger
May Edition, Volume VII, Issue 5
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

It’s time for a fashion face-off with this PTA lady. Why does Mrs. Linda Pringle think she can change the dress code policy at Madison Middle to require uniforms? Students need to express themselves. Everyone knows uniforms are not the great equalizer; they are the great oppressor! Not only that, but establishing a uniform policy is unconstitutional and violates freedom of speech. Also, where is Mrs. Pringle getting all this research claiming uniforms raise test scores? We have so very few rights as middle school students as it is. Why take away our right to fashion?

Dressed and Oppressed

Dear Dressed and Oppressed,

I certainly appreciate and understand your frustration. I like my fashion freedom, too! Unfortunately, if Mr. Payne, the PTA, and the Madison Heights School Board support the new uniform policy, it will most likely become a reality. That said, I will communicate your concerns and share them with the student body. Until then, flaunt your fashion freedom, and fight on!

Yours in label lust,
Cecelia E. Cruz, Editor in Chief

How to Start Your Own Club by Lucy 

I’ve decided to start my own club. It will be an environmental fashion club called the EFC. It’s a fab idea because: 1) it will be a diversion from the whole school uniform thing, and 2) it will make me superpopular.

As president of the EFC, I am quickly learning there are many things one must know before starting his or her own club:

Have at least three people in mind that can help you start the club. Otherwise, you might be viewed as just some weirdo loner with a cause.

Find a club advisor—hopefully a hip, cool teacher with some passion. In other
words, find a teacher who’s not just going to do it for the extra stipend but
can help recruit students and advise when necessary.

Run ideas by the principal and fill out all required forms, including the club
objective, costs, fund-raising, and so on. Tip: Explain to the principal how the club will raise test scores.

Advertise the club with eye-catching posters and homeroom announcements.

Have a set meeting place and agenda.

Serve cookies at meetings. Advertise the fact that cookies will be served.

Make cool club T-shirts to be worn on club days.

Stuff You'll Need:
Meeting place
Plan or club platform
Principal’s approval
Courage and confidence

Sunday, December 8, 2013

How NOT to be Noticed in Class

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Lucy: Let’s face it. Sometimes, you’d rather not be called on in class.

CeCee: Yeah! Like when you forgot to read that last chapter in English.

Lucy: Or when you have a humungo zit, are laid up with lunch flu, or are just feeling oogly altogether.

Lucy and CeCee: Keeping a low profile takes a little skill, but with practice, you can be present, accounted for, and invisible.

L&C’s How to Go Incognito Tips
Align yourself perfectly with the person sitting in front of you. If sitting in the front row, pretend to take copious notes and/or have head in your textbook.

Hover over your assignment as if highly engaged. Look engrossed, and do not make eye contact with teachers. (They tend to call on students who look at them.) At the same time, nod your head periodically to show you’re paying attention. (Teachers also tend to call on students who are off task.)

A little trick is to answer one question at the beginning of class that’s a no-brainer. This way, your teacher has heard from you and won’t be compelled to call on you again.

Stuff You’ll Need:




Student in front of you

Dear C.C. ~
Whatup, girlie? Just sitting here making myself invisible N history. Did U get the take-home letter today N homeroom? I mean, I really want 2 die. Doesn’t my mother have anything better 2 do than 2 constantly ruin my social life? Kids are already starting 2 come up 2 me ready 2 have it out, and I just lie and say, “No relation.” Of course, no one seems 2 believe me. Some birthday I’m having! (Thanks 4 the balloons, by the way. I heart U!)
2 top off my birthday blues, Josh still hasn’t broken up with that bimbette, Kandi Klass. I just don’t get it. Does she have some kind of voodoo hold on him or something? Is he under hypnosis?
Anywayz, I hope U don’t mind me asking—but do U feel okay? U just seem kinda tired and worn out lately, and U never eat anything except those Twizzler Nibs. Just making sure you’re not turning N-2 one of those rib-counting chicks. Don’t get me wrong—U still look fly, and I love your new Mary Jane platforms. But just sayin’. U know I’m here if U want 2 talk about anything, right?

Hearts and daisy petals,

PS Not that I have 2 say anything, but please don’t publish anything about the uniform policy N the Madison Messenger. It’ll just get everyone all trippy and Kandi Klass & Co. is already sending me toxic hate vibes.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Secret Thoughts After Reading Lucy’s Note

I don’t care if it’s her birthday or not—I think I might be seriously enraged with Lucy! First of all, what right does she have asking me not to publish something in the Madison Messenger? The uniform policy is serious school news, and she knows that! As editor, it is my duty is to observe, investigate, and report—all conflicts of interest aside. Sometimes, she’s dumber than a box of rocks!
And then, she has the audacity to inquire about my dietary proclivities. Maybe she should worry about herself for a change! What business is it of hers if I’m not eating? Frankly, she could stand to lose a few LBs! Maybe then she’d get a boyfriend. Speaking of—if I hear one more time about her fauxlationship with Josh Land, I think I’m going to lose it! It’s so irritating! But honestly—maybe this is about other things … I don’t usually get so peevish with Lucy, even when she’s acting like an ├╝berditz.
I wish I could talk to someone about my inner turmoil. I tried asking Cora about boys last night, but she only pretended to listen, and now that she’s made cheerleader, she’s way too preoccupied for anything else—most especially her dorky little sister.
Why is life soooo confusing? Where is the clarity? Where is my magical advisor?
Oh, moons of madness!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Passion for Fashion

An Excerpt From the Award-Winning Tell-All
Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School

Well, it's that time of year, when your parents, grandparents, and bizarro aunts and uncles will be asking what's on your wish list.  In other words, it's the perfect time to pursue your passion for fashion - right?

I’m as shy as they come, but when it comes to my day-to-day threads, I’m a bold, fearless fashionista. I guess you could classify my look as boho chic laced with a few punked-out accessories. I know, I know—it totally goes against the bespectacled nerd-girl concept, but that’s the brilliant thing about fashion—it expresses the wild child within and makes my gear buzzworthy! (I actually attribute my edgy trend tastes back to my Catholic school days when the required oxford blouse, plaid skirt, and rosary beads forced me to think outside the box.)

Now, the thing about fashion is you really don’t have to break the bank to be swank. Except for the occasional babysitting or tutoring job, I don’t have a big cash stash myself but still manage to throw together clever little ensembles. Sure, I shop at Abercrombie and Gap like the rest of the masses, but I also find a lot of spunky stuff (belts, purses, military jackets, etc.) at the Goodwill and other thrift stores. So yeah— it’s okay to get a little daring—especially when it comes to the trimmings. And yes, you’ll get an occasional eye roll or a mumbled snarl from the SMGs (Supermean Girls), but they’re probably just jealous because you’re rockin’ it and they’re not. After all, no one respects an Aberzombie clone who’s just following the trendies!

How to Rock It Hip Tips:
♥ Accessories rule
♥ Wear a pair of Chucks with a scarf
♥ Layers, layers, layers
♥ Try a low-slung, chunky belt
♥ Enhance any outfit with vintage jewelry and/or dangly chandelier earrings—love that stuffy Victorian bling!
♥ Mix and match colors and patterns—but sparingly
♥ Rock a mini with leggings and flats

Fashion Don’ts
I don’t believe in the fashion police, but there are a few no-no’s everyone should adhere to for the sake of mankind and world peace. In my honest and humble opinion, the following are universal fashion flubs (i.e., not a good look for anyone):

♥ Acid-washed jeans
♥ Ruffles
♥ Heels you can’t walk in
♥ Black lipstick
♥ Yellow
♥ Too-low lowriders
♥ Fishnet
♥ Shoulder pads
♥ Thong peek-a-boos
♥ Hairy legs with skirts or shorts

1) Stay clear of sheer
2) If it doesn’t fit, it’s gonna split
3) Too bright ain’t right
4) If you wear it, rock it!

As a bonus, I'm including my Back-to-School Shopping List:

1. Black leggings
2. Platforms in any color
3. Flared denim jeans
4. Black skinny jeans
5. Faux-leather tote
6. Mary Janes
7. Denim vest
8. Burgundy glam-punk blazer
9. Neon pink Chuck Taylors
10.  Strategically ripped vintage concert tees
11.  Gypsy broom skirt
12.  Chandelier and hoop earrings
13.  Lace-up combat boots
14.  Gold and silver bangles
15.  Purple knit beret
16.  Black trapeze dress
17.  Flannel tunic
18.  Granny cardigan

(The trick is to strike a balance between the trends and classics, sprinkled with your own personal touches.)

Scary Sitch: Know your fashion limits and the school dress code policy. Once, during my Catholic school days, I tied my white oxford into a navel-knot halter à la Britney Spears, got five demerits, three Hail Marys, and a lecture from Sister Eugenie on the virtues of modesty. Yikes!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

This week I will read The Polar Express to my students.  I love how even my eighth graders sit all agog listening to Van Allsburg's tale of the old fashioned steam train taking children to the North Pole to meet the jolly red suited guy.

Here is a list of my favorite Christmas classics that never fail to get me in the holiday spirit.  As Christmas creeps closer, I wrap myself in my favorite cuddle blanket, pour some hot cocoa (the frothy kind, made with real milk, and bobbing marshmallows), and go back to a time when I, too believed.

All aboard...

1) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

2) The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

3) How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss

4) "The Gift of the Magi" - O. Henry

5) The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffman, illustrations by Maurice Sendak

6) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Barbara Robinson

7) The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans

8) The Night Before Christmas - Jan Brett

9) The Tailor of Gloucester - Beatrix Potter

10) The Father Christmas Letters - J.R.R. Tolkien