Saturday, November 16, 2013

On Fire for Science

This week was just too good not to write a blog post about it... {Plus, I know a couple of teacher-friends who are waiting to laugh at the hilarity of my week... Shelley, I know you're reading this. ;) }

I came back from a trip to Houston for a science teacher convention on Friday night. I was practically coughing up my lungs and so tired that I slept most of the weekend. I felt yucky on Monday {you can tell I teach elementary because "yucky" is part of my regular vocabulary} but went to school anyway. I had a kindergartener ask me on Monday, "Is your phroat [throat] feeling better? If it's not, I'll make you a get well card!" haha... so sweet! :)

On Tuesday, I was trying to get something ready between classes, so I turned the sink on. This sink has been difficult to turn off this entire year; you really have to jam it back to the wall. This time, when I shoved the handle back to turn it off, something "clicked" and water started coming even harder from the faucet. Whichever way I turned the handle, I couldn't get the water to turn off. A quick call to the office brought a custodian who turned off the water supply to that sink. Phew.

Later, I was drying a beaker and went to get a paper towel. The paper towel dispenser came off the wall and bonked me on the head.

I looked around to make sure Ashton Kutcher wasn't filming me for a come-back episode of Punk'd.

But unfortunately...

{Image Credit} Grammar Police: I thought it was "dawg." ...??
 ...this is my real life.

On Wednesday, I'd planned for my second graders to make crayon rocks. A science lab teacher friend does this activity with her second graders every year; it's always successful and the kids love it. I was super-excited to do it with my kiddos this year.

Basically, the kids shave a crayon to mimic weathering and sediment deposits. Then we do different things to the shavings to make a model of the three main types of rocks. {Here's a blog post about the entire process, in case you're interested.} For instance, igneous rocks are formed from heat, so we put them on a piece of foil on a pie plate on a burner and let them melt together.

A real pic from my lab -- shaving crayons
The directions said to let the "igneous rocks" melt on the burner for 10-15 minutes. It didn't say how high to turn up the burner, but my heating pad was on high to get it to work in our short amount of class time, so I cranked that burner up to high, too.

Not five minutes into the "cooking" process, the kids start saying, "It stinks!" I wave my hand nonchalantly and say confidently, "It's just the crayon wax melting." I, of course, cannot smell anything, due to my lovely case of bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, Texas allergies, and all other germs on God's green Earth being in my body.

I glance over at the burner, just to be sure everything's A-OK, and I see the crayon wax boiling. I think to myself, "Hmm. That wasn't mentioned in the lesson plan..." so I casually stroll over to get a closer look. I decide I need to get the wax off the burner STAT, so on a whim, I slip on a heat-resistant glove and grab the pie plate.

As I lift the pie plate into the air, it burst into flames in my hand.

Basically. {Image credit}
For all my neurotic tenancies and the unique ability to panic about everything, I was surprisingly calm. Like, McKayla Maroney calm.

{Image credit}
I hear the kids behind me say, "wwhhooaaa!!!" Well, cool. At least they're entertained while I deal with my burning hand. I have one working hand {since, you know, the other is on fire at the moment}, so I assess in my head: I cannot unfold the fire blanket with one hand. I cannot get the fire extinguisher with one hand. I don't want an eight year old getting close to the flame to help me. "What else ya got, Candice?" 

Whatever I do, I have to make a decision quickly because the flame is crawling up my thumb and making its way to the end of the glove. {As Shaggy would say, "Yikes!"}
{Image credit}
 I decide to drop the entire thing in the sink and get some water on it. {Meanwhile, the children are excitedly watching my every move behind me. I vaguely remember hearing cries of, "Was that supposed to happen?" and "Best. Science Lab. EVVERRRR!"} The water stream makes the flames rise up a bit more, and I think, "Holy crap, Candice. You are going to burn this entire school down. ...Bet they won't re-sign your contract after that!"

The water finally makes the flame die down, and I'm left with a smoldering mess in the sink.

This was the mess in my sink a few hours later when I could go back into the room without coughing

Of course, smoke immediately starts to fill the room to where I feel like I'm in one of those lame "what to do if there's a fire" videos they made us watch when I was in school. Kids are making the most of it -- coughing, waving their hands in front of their face, and generally freaking out. I make an executive decision to take them back to class 5 minutes early.

During that time, the office staff is busy moving industrial fans into my room because the science lab has no ventilation or circulation. 

For my next class, I try to teach in the hallway outside my room. But one of the custodians kindly points out that the fans are blowing the smoke down the hallway and might set off the sprinklers in the hall. He suggests we open the outside doors next to the lab. It's great, but my kids in the hallway are now shivering in their short-sleeves because it's like, 30 degrees outside. Sigh.

The teacher whose class I was supposed to have came down and took her kids back to class early so I could sob in the bathroom. {I think I owe her a Starbucks gift card.}

Everything was fine at that point, but I think my McKayla-style calmness could only last for so long.

Sorry, Abs. I've failed you.

Our assistant principal told me to show a rock movie the rest of the day. I did, but I felt like I was "cheating" somehow. {I only show one movie all year long, and it's an ocean IMAX movie in April that is absolutely fascinating.} Ah, well. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?

On Thursday, someone apparently tried to pop popcorn, and burned it horribly in the microwave. So all day, I had people coming cautiously into my room saying, "Um...everything okay in here?"

{Image credit}
Kids have already started rumors that I caught the microwave on fire, that we blew up a candle... I don't know where this ridiculousness came from! I don't know if I'll ever live this down.

Seriously... why don't I have my own reality show?!?!

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P. S. In case you stopped laughing at my misfortune of a week to worry about the state of my hand, you'll be happy to know that it just feels like I burnt my thumb with a gigantic curling iron. There are no blisters, and it's not even red, so I just look like a total wuss when I complain about it. hah.

P.P.S. Sorry for the language, but this eCard was just too funny not to include in this post:

{Image credit}

TGITW {thank goodness it's the weekend}, friends!

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