Sunday, December 28, 2008

just for charlotte

because i used to call her Charlotte the Harlot and she's still friends with me. She's nice.

Books to Read:

Teaching Introductory Physics: Okay, snooze, I know. But remember that physics class you took with me once when I convinced you that you wanted to be an engineer? That was fun. And it's honestly one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I take it with me everywhere I go.

The Promise, by Chaim Potok: It's the sequel to The Chosen, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I didn't love it quite as much as The Chosen, but it's still good.

A Long way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: if you're particular about writing styles (which i sometimes am) you might not love it, but everybody should read this book at some point in their lives.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life: pretty interesting.

The Brighter Side of Human Nature, by Alfie Kohn: I've read several of his books, and they get repetitive after you read more than two (he starts to repeat the same stories) but if you've never read anything by Alfie Kohn, you should. It's inspiring.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


has anyone else read this website? #115 is one of my favorites.

Dear people who were just now invited to read my blog,

Um, yeah. Sorry.

Don't think that I forgot about you. I was just letting the anticipation build. Or something.


a mexican christmas

So, the picture uploader thingy is being really slow and, as it turns out, I'm not that patient. I'll have more later.

Before Christmas actually came, we drove out to Cholula and Puebla where we ate some fried grasshoppers (less disgiusting than you might think)

sat on an elephant (because sometimes mom still thinks that we're five years old. That may be because we sometimes act five, but that's beside the point.)

and saw some ruins.

Then we came back to Mexico city for Christmas eve and Christmas day. We made all of our regular Christmas treats for caroling. We were planning on singing Feliz Navidad (because it's the only Christmas song we know in Spanish) but when mom ended up singing what essentially translates into "I want your anus (and happiness)" we decided to forego the song and just deliver plates of food instead. Smart move, if you ask me.
Christmas day, we opened stockings

and took a pinata to the kids at the refugio.
Later, we went to the Zocalo, which during the holidays is a lot like Disneyworld. Except way better, because Disneyworld just isn't that fun. Sorry, but it's not. All in all, not a bad trip so far.

Friday, December 19, 2008

glorious freedom

only two classes left, and i am free for 16 whole days. no more ball jokes or other teenaged antics.

today is the last day of school, and i have received some delightful gifts from several very generous students. these include:

  • a $100 gift card to Nordstrom. what should i buy? some shoes? a pair of designer jeans? too many choices
  • a gorgeous blue cashmere scarf
  • another blue scarf (apparently they're big this season)
  • a barnes and noble gift card (awesome)
  • lots of chocolates
  • candles
  • earrings

Today we have our faculty holiday party at our headmaster's house. i am going simply because the door prize is an all-expense paid trip for 4 to cape cod. i am determined that i am going to win.

i am a member of "the reason" which is a club that provides a reason to get up early on saturday mornings. tomorrow morning we are baking sugar cookies to leave on people's doorsteps.

then i'm watching mamma mia with rochelle. and attending the mandarin branch christmas party. i'm going for the food.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

not that interesting

to most of you, anyway. probably my mom will pretend to be interested, because that's what moms do. but a math teacher guy wrote this, and i am happy to say that i can (mostly) answer yes. (except for on some days when i'm annoyed. and yes, i am feeling pretty smug with myself right now, thank you very much....)

Evolution of an Educator:

At first, your students don't know anything because you teach poorly, and you know this. Then, you become happily aware that some students are learning. You know that other students still aren't, but you are pedagogically nearsighted and can make only blurry distinctions between the two camps. Your teaching improves and the ranks of the Is Learning camp swells and you know the members of the Isn't Learning camp by name. You develop better methods of tracking achievement and you know exactly what the students who aren't learning haven't learned. Moreover, as you teach, you begin to anticipate the material that will confuse these students. You realize that your intervention can effectively transfer a student from one camp to the other. At a certain point, the technical challenges to increasing student achievement disappear, but the moral challenge remains. Will you do it? Every day, every hour, every student for 180 days, will you do it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


So we're building roller coasters in my class this week. Which is mostly really fun. The only problem is, we're using marbles (which the boys prefer to call balls - for obvious teenaged boy reasons).

Some of the marbles are too big to fit in the tracks that we're using. According to Ryan, Jeff's balls are too big. I thought about asking him how he would know that, but I don't want to encourage this.

We're also using cups for support. Ha. That's freaking hilarious.

Heaven help me. I better get a great Christmas bonus this year.

Monday, December 08, 2008

final exams

So I always give the same bonus question on all of my final exams:

"Explain any concept that we learned this year that was not addressed on the exam."

It gives the kids an opportunity to explain the stuff they studied but that I didn't ask about. Some of them impress me with their knowledge. Some do not. I always get a few interesting responses.

Some of them are blatantly butt-kissing: "I learned that I love physics and that Ms. Reed is the best teacher ever!"

Right. Sure you did.

Some of them are a little funny: "I learned that Michael Scott burned his foot on a George Foreman grill because he likes the smell of fresh-cooked bacon in the morning."

I think I talk about The Office just a little too much.

And my personal favorite: "I learned that Ms. Reed really likes candy."


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

words to live by

Yesterday, I received this email:

sometimes i underestimate how freakin' awesome you are. then i repent. today i repented.

Your Repentant Sister

I'm pretty sure I'm going to make my students read it today.

Never forget this. Ever.

The end.