Thursday, February 28, 2008

ooh, jealousy

My students are doing a project where they pose a question and try to answer it using physics. Most of them picked Mythbusters-type questions like "can dropping a penny off of a skyscraper really kill someone?" or "how many helium balloons do you need to lift yourself off the ground." One kid, however, decided to test the horsepower of different cars, and see how closely it matches the power output on a closed course. Which means that he has access to multiple cars and a track on which to drive.

So he turned in his preliminary data tables last week, which included the tested horsepower of six different cars, including:



Aston Martin

and another car I've never even heard of, but which I was informed is worth $1.5 million. It's a good thing he's such a nice kid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

school, school, school

So the few weeks before spring break are generally the most frustrating of the school year. While most of my students get more adorable and lovable every day, those few who are not quite as adorable and lovable get under my skin just a little more every day. And I'm pretty sure I annoy them more every day too. Not a good combination. Lucky for me, I only have about 3 kids who frustrate me, but they are definitely trying their best to get to me. Kids can be sneaky like that.

But on another note, I gave a really tricky quiz in my advanced class today, and they did awesome on it. It's so much fun to watch them struggle with a problem they've never seen before, and then conquer it. (Well, most of them conquered it.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

happy weekend

My weekend turned out fabulous. Fun-filled, excellent weather, good company. Saturday, Rochelle and I went to the japanese robot exhibit. The robot part was just okay. More geared towards kids, but I did learn a lot about Japanese culture. Their development of robots is much different than what you see in the US (not that you see much of it in the US) because of their culture and immigration policies. Fascinating. Along with the robots, however, was a "polka-dot" exhibit because "the universe is full of polka-dot forms." Pretty funny.

Then we headed to Guapo's for a mexican dinner. It was pretty good, but nothing to write home about. I still am craving a Beto's-type restaurant. The fruit tart we had for dessert was just okay. Next time, I am making a homemade lemon tart topped with fruit. Much better.

Sunday, we made a Japanese dinner. (Turns out most of my friends here are Japanese, or love all things Japanese. They're rubbing off on me.) It was make-your-own-squid-ball night. Delicious. They're cooked in an ebilskever pan in the middle of the table. In case you can't tell, I had just woken up from my long, long Sunday nap.

For dessert, Brian made brownies and Merry made a rice cake with pretty flowers on it. Both were a hit.

Friday, February 15, 2008

happy friday!

I need this 3-day weekend like nothing else. I am counting down the minutes till I'm free. I have a fantastic weekend planned.

  • wake up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to take my roommate to the airport. she is so lucky to have me around.
  • come home and eat the breakfast my other roommate promised me if i would get her out of taking laura to the airport. she's a great cook.
  • go to the robot exhibit at the Kennedy Center. it's going to be awesome.
  • dinner at guapos before stake conference. mexican restaurants in this city are few and far between, but i've heard great things about this one.
  • watching children of heaven and eating a fruit tart to celebrate rochelle's birthday.
  • a long, long sunday nap
  • homemade japanese food on sunday to continue the birthday celebration
  • hopefully finishing a thousand splendid suns and re-reading east of eden
  • try to plan an interesting lesson on electromagnetic waves. this could be tricky

58 minutes to go...

Friday, February 08, 2008

a nice break

So sometimes teachers and students all need a break from lecturing and note-taking and the overall brain-numbing that high school sometimes is. For my classes, today was that day. It's Friday. It's sunny and warm outside. Nobody felt like sitting in a desk, and I didn't feel like making them.

So a couple of weeks ago, while we were learning about rotational motion, we did a lab involving angular velocity and moments of inertia of a skateboard. But apparently skateboards are going out of style and razor scooters are the new cool thing to have these days. Who knew? Being the good samaritan that she is, Debbie brought her scooter to class today, so I could learn how to be cool too. Now, for those of you who don't know, 15 teenagers + 1 razor scooter = zero attention span. Even with good, hard-working teenagers like the ones I teach. So I scrapped my lesson plan, roped off the hallway, and gave them "razor scooter challenges" , which involved riding the scooter up and down the hallway and running some calculations. Anything I could think of that did not involve sitting in a desk.

The point of the story is, I love my job.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Dear Penn(sylvania),

Thank you for letting me call you Pennsylvania. And thank you also for tolerating all of the borrowing pens from Penn jokes. I know you probably got tired of them somewhere around the first grade, but I just can't resist.

Also, please take robotics next year. You will love it.

Your favorite teacher,
Ms. Reed

Dear Roommate #1,

I have one more recommendation for getting along with your roommates. When my pay stub falls out of my purse, do not examine it and calculate my yearly salary. And then do not compare it to yours. There's a reason I've never told you how much I make. Because it's none of your business.

Thank you,

Dear swim team,

Trust me, I am way more happy than you are that the season is finally over. I am praying that I never have to coach again. However, you are all still delightful children.

Coach Reed

Dear IRS,

Thank you for the tax return. And for allowing me to itemize my deductions. I am looking forward to a nice fat check in the mail.


Dear DC metro area,

Thank you so much for the beautiful weather recently. While I would still love at least one snow day, the warm sun is fantastic.


a must-see

Today I watched A Class Divided. Watch it. You won't regret it.

how to confuse high school students

So our school decided that since our kids work so hard (which they do) and the winter is long and cold (which it is) we would give everyone a day off from classes, and prepared a "Beyond the Books" program for today. Which we did not tell our students about until they showed up at school. We herded them into the auditorium for our weekly assembly and the principal told them to take off their ties and untuck their shirts because all classes were cancelled for the day. And then they stared at us in confused, baffled silence. It took a good 15 minutes to convince them that this was not a joke.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

unanimous approval

I presented the proposal for my robotics class to the curriculum board today, and they unanimously approved the course! Mainly because it sounded really cool and they don't know enough about robotics to question what I was telling them.

At one point, I mentioned C programming and that I was sure they had all heard of it. They laughed at me. Turns out curriculum committees are not usually made up or programmers.

Friday, February 01, 2008

i love snow and ice

Simply for the 2-hour delayed start. I love working at a school!