Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kissy Kissy

A few weeks ago, between classes, I observed a couple practically pressed through each other doing a tongue swap hug neck kissy kissy act. Now, we allow no PDAs at our school, and besides, who wants to see this stuff? So I jokingly, loudly, said, "ew, get a room. no one wants to see that." ... I must have gone on for about 5 - 10 seconds. They broke apart, but the girl quietly said, "you don't have to shout." ... hmph.

Then I see them at the same time the next day doing the same thing. ... Again with the comments. This time the girl gives me a dirty look. ... I don't see them again for a while. Either I'm not in the halls or they've moved on. ... Apparently not.

Yesterday, one of my girl students walks in to the beginning of class and says that, ew, she was watching this couple practically having sex in the halls, and she said that she must have been shocked because she stopped and stared with a shocked/disgusted look on her face. ... I guess the girl must have noticed her, because they broke apart.

So I'm glad it's not an "old person's" thing. As we were having this discussion, a couple of other kids chimed in that they didn't want to see that. Whew. ... But then I came home and told my husband about it, and he said that in high school, as a boy, his first thought was not, "I don't want to see that", but "I want to be that". TMI. La la la la la. I can't hear you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

First Day Back

Whew. I'm guessing the kiddies were relieved to be back on Monday after 5 long days away from school. Finally! Homework and sitting on our butts all day. Yay. ... I did hear tales of kids that had to work over break, and one student regaled us with his Circuit City job where people were fighting over some computer they had in the store. ... I've never done that get-up-super-early thing to go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. I guess I'm glad because seeing people duke it out and pull hair would just dishearten me.

I brought doughnuts for my advisory period. Sheesh, one kid got others who didn't want theirs to donate them to him. He had three. Blach. I ate 1/2 of one later, and ew, you then have greasy doughnut breath for hours after. Now I'm not virtuous or anything on the sweets front, but I guess doughnuts are not my "poison" of choice.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


We decided to go camping over Thanksgiving. Translation: I wanted to take a trip somewhere since this is basically the only vacation during the school year that doesn't have relatives written all over it, and he didn't want to fight the airport crowds. We compromised on driving to some beautiful Texas hill country locations and hiking and camping. ... City Folk go camping. I think we're a wee bit old or sissified to be able to sleep on camprests in 37 degree temperature. Brrr. We did have fun cooking smores, though, and we had fun cooking on the Coleman stove (borrowed), and we had fun on our 3 hour hike through beautiful red and yellow and orange trees.

So now we're home and back to the pre-work weekend of laundry and schoolwork and procrastination. .... hmmmmm, maybe there's a matinee I can go to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Clothing Vignettes

Hats are not allowed at our school, so in an ideal world, no students come to school with hats, and if they do, they politely and compliantly take them off when a teacher points it out to them.

I've had various degrees of success with this. What's working for me now is, "A hat in school? Let me see your hair, I bet you have great hair ..." and then I make sure to whistle at their mane when they take off their hat. This works most of the time.

Well yesterday, I was doing a duty in the main hallway, and a teacher was basically screaming at a student at first meeting about his hat. Really screechy like. Blach. The kid, you could see was a good natured kid, and he'd just come in from outside where it was cold. Basically the second sentence out of her mouth was about reporting him to the SRO (security officer). I mean, it's no wonder the kids are highly suspicious of adult interactions.

During my first period, a big football player type of kid comes in wearing a pink, striped shirt. A friend walks up to him (a girl) and hugs him and says it's a great shirt. He smiles sheepishly and said he had to wear it because his girlfriend bought it for him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


On Monday my last period class of the day was a wee bit chatty. Persistently chatty, I guess, because I kept (half jokingly) taking deep breaths in an obvious fashion. They know I take yoga because I yammer about it, and they know that part of the reason is to provide "calm".

Well, apparently, it didn't seem to be working because one of the students pipes up, "you should ask for a refund". (bunch of comics, they are.)

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Some friends from another state are visiting this weekend. The husband is more my husband's friend ... well I guess originally, and we only know his wife through him. We've seen them maybe once or twice in the last 3 years. Well, what a treat, here I was all thinking, oh, visitors, we have to clean the house and be "on" and such. But. We are having the best time just talking and laughing. You know how it is when you're with people that you just click with ... you like the same things and have had some of the same experiences and find the same things funny. What a great way to spend 2 days off.

And as an extra bonus, I heard the coolest puzzle on NPR's "Click & Clack". Oooooh, all mathie and such. The essence of it is: You are in a corridor with 20,000 hanging lights all with pull cords and all "pulled" off. Someone walks down the hall and pulls every other cord. Then someone walks down the hall and pulls every 3rd cord. Then someone walks down the hall and pulls every 4th cord. ... all the way to .... someone ... bla bla bla ... every 20,000th cord. Is there a way to predict after all this which lights are turned on and which are turned off?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Equation Dexterity

I'm liking how I'm introducing integrals in calculus. I figured we'd concentrate on 1 to 2 functions and work them in all sorts of ways to build up to an understanding of what's so cool about the (first?) fundamental theorem of calculus. So we approximated area, we brainstormed ways to make it more accurate, we found lower and upper bounds to exact area under the curve, and I then built up how to use limits and summation to get the exact area.

Sheesh, these things always take longer than you think they will. In my mind (hah!) I figured they could finish up simplifying this one equation in class and then I'd assign the 2nd problem for homework. Hah. Hah. What took most of them all period was to simplify an equation of this form (note that it's not a matter of calculus right now, it's basic algebra .... or so ... FOILing, distributing, adding fractions, simplifying):

[1/2 (3i/n - 2)(3i/n - 2) + 1](3/n).

Okay, ick (sort of), but doable ..... (apparently doable in 40 minutes and not the 5 or so minutes I envisioned in my fantasy teaching mind).

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I was being SO good at the beginning of the school year. Getting up at 5:30, either going on the treadmill or lifting weights ... and then ... . The treadmill died and had to get fixed, and it did, but by then it was too late. My morning exercise consisted of mildly rapid finger or wrist movements on the computer while I was surfing. Okay, sure, I did some sun salutations and maybe a head stand or 2, but not the still-sweating-after-the-shower treadmill workout.

But I'm a changed woman. Today I get back on the saddle, so to speak. Okay, I'm on the computer now, but I still have 4 minutes. I'm going. I'm going.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Today after school while I was tutoring and after an afterschool meeting, a kid who graduated last year came to visit. I had him for 2 years, and he's one of the memorable ones (in a good way). He's now in the marines, and was talking about his experience. ... How hard was it for me to not wail at him, "BE CAREFUL! DON'T DIE" ... he's an "infantry man" ... if I have that term correct. That means he's on the ground most likely. Oh my. Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.

On the bizarre flip side ... my bra strap came undone, not once, but TWICE today while teaching. Hmmmm, excuse me class while I go and "saddle up" again. ... No majorly obvious "things" popped out. Thank goodness. BUT. How disconcerting.


I thought the kids must have taken "snotty pills" or something on Monday because, oh my, the behavior! But then I just looked out the window. Uh huh. Full moon. On the positive side ... I'm safe for another 28 (?) days.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Professional Development

What a useful day (except that I didn't get any grading done or prep and now have a fun weekend of work ahead of me, but that's another story). At our inservice, we had 3 morning sessions where we were able to pick and choose between various presentations.

I first went to a dyslexia talk. The woman was very informative and passionate about this (her daughter was not diagnosed as dyslexic until high school). I learned about myths and symptoms and modifications. The next talk was about scaffolding. I learned about graphic organizers and how I could use them in math. The third talk was about meeting the needs of and closing the achievement gap between black kids and "other" kids. It was informative and started the conversation. There were no concrete solutions or tactics (well, maybe there were, but they were more hand-wavy vague-ish), but it was productive, none-the-less, because it raised my awareness up a level. So ... a nice way to end the work week. That and the great live music and margaritas and tex mex food downtown after work.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I'll be happier next year when I don't have to get up at 3:00am (or my guilt/body/procrastination forces me up) to make 3 quizzes for my 3 preps in one day. ... Or really now, who am I fooling. This is how it always seems to be. BUT, tres exciting, because I don't have to "be on" today for the little kiddies, and SECOND, tomorrow is an inservice day, so guess who's going out to breakfast?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One Liner Plus ...

In calculus we started talking about antiderivatives yesterday. One student said that it sounded like a vaccine and asked hopefully, "is that something that will make derivatives go away?"

After school I was writing a pass for a student for Wednesday morning, and I was working out what the date would be, so I started counting from Friday, whose date I knew by heart. In my mind I picture the 7 days of the week sort of making an elliptical loop with Saturday and Sunday at the bottom, so in the air, I was kind of pointing to the days and counting forward until I got to Wednesday. The student asked what I was doing, so I explained and then asked how he pictured the days of the week (straight line). That reminded me of my periodically-remembered quest to see if anyone else sees the days of the week in their mind as being in a loop or does everyone see them (if they do at all) in a straight line.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Last year I taught my algebra 2 class a song to remind them of how to work with fractions. (I know, how sad is that that it's needed). This year, my cell-phone-cat-pee girl who was horrible with fractions last year is sitting there working away on some trigonometry problem, finding common denominators and adding things with (gasp) "pi" like the best of them and NOT EVEN REFERRING TO HER CALCULATOR.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Oh My

Dinner with our neighbors/friends turned out okay. Just one prejudiced comment during the whole evening. I happened to mention this reality show where people with "different" (read: non rich/white/cookie-cutter) lifestyles were in a bid to move in free and clear into this uppy-up neighborhood. I never watched it, but I knew of it because I knew of one of the contestants - a great person. So our neighbor was mentioning that, yea, he'd heard of the show (before I mentioned, I think, that I knew of one contestant). He said, "yea, .... bla bla bla ... the scum of the earth ..." refering to the variety of people. You know, people with tattoos, non white people, gay people, etc. Oh my. I mentioned that one of the people was my friend, and conversation moved to other topics. But really.

BUT. The main occurrence of the evening was that fact that the wife has in about a month really deteriorated with rheumatoid arthritis. We're talking a young, 40ish healthy, fit person here, and she can't even use her thumbs, and all her joints are swollen, and she has difficulty getting up after sitting for long periods of time. The last time I saw her, she was "normal", and now she's stiff and in pain. Oh my. Apparently, this is a disease in which your body attacks itself. How horrible. .... And another friend has just had surgery for cancer. .... How cliche, but you really do start to thank your lucky stars that you're (so far?) healthy. Maybe this is what starts to happen after you're in your 40's, health becomes a main topic on your mind and of your conversation ..... let's see, weather, health, .... what's next, talk of "regularity"?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This & That

Sheesh. Can't believe the school year is 1/3 over. I had a grading frenzy on Friday, so that I wouldn't have a pile (extra) of work to do on the weekend. Go Me. I finished just in time to turn everything back. Now all I have to concentrate on is "antiderivatives" and how to start them next week.

My husband whisked me away for a stay at a nearby B&B for our anniversary. How fun is THAT to do something outside of your normal routine. What I like about the B&Bs are all the interesting people you meet that you'd probably never cross paths with. The other 2 couples there were from a Texas town that was greatly affected by one of the last hurricanes, so we heard stories about how they're putting stuff back together there. One gentleman was also a court reporter, and that was fascinating to hear the specifics of his job.

Today our "racist" friends are coming over for dinner. I've had this battle in my head about how to deal ... my husband suggested inviting them over, and I balked, but.... I guess I'd be perfectly fine not talking to them again, I feel that strongly about it. But then my husband likes them, and they're mostly okay except for their viewpoints on certain issues. Do you keep steering the conversation away from such topics? Do you say, "stop being so racist."? Do you make faces at them about the crazy things they say? Blach. Obviously, I must be wrong and most of the US's problems are due to illegal immigrants sucking up all our resources and ruining our schools and the poor people using up all our health care money. Blach. Blach. Blach. Yoga training to the rescue .... or denial .... "go to your happy place. go to your happy place."

Friday, November 04, 2005


Sheesh. Everything seemed to be sex related on Thursday. Gee, what a surprise, high school boys thinking/talking about sex. It started out with the inevitable "69" shout out when I asked for a number. Then it evolved into someone talking about their "weenus" ? but it was supposed to be some "other" part of their body .... then during my lunch duty I get to watch a young couple practically glued together against a wall that I had to pry apart....then someone was talking about this plastic toy that consisted of 2 small baseballs that had a red light that made them glow (???), so then they had to keep saying, "my red balls, my 2 red balls, my small red balls". OKAY, we get the reference. THEN after school with the students I coach for a math contest ..... one boy pipes up with, "Mr. ____ told us that chocolate stimulates (hmph) the same part of the brain as when you're having sex". We had a little discussion about social skills and mixed company.

OKAY. Enough all ready, little kiddies. Put your pants on and do some math.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Chubby Little Eyeballs

Whenever I'm trying to get the students to focus on a place on the board or on a worksheet or in the book or whatever (and to see if they're processing what I'm saying), I say, "put your chubby little fingers on ...." or "put your studly little fingers on ... " or for a variation, "put your chubby little eyeballs on ...".

Well. When I bought candy for our trick-or-treaters, I couldn't resist the inch-in-diameter balls of chocolate that were wrapped in foil made to look like eyeballs. Now, we had hardly any trick or treaters, so, I got to take them to school and I handed out "chubby little eyeballs". That was fun.

Also yesterday after school, a student was getting help on some trigonometry, and then we started talking about Pythagorean Triples. I told him of the ones I knew - (3,4,5) (5,12,13) (7,24,25) (8,15,17) and then showed him the trick on how I remember the first 3 ..... in that for those, the last 2 numbers add up to the square of the first number, so you just think of (say) 5, and its square (25) and then basically you halve 25 and get 12 and 13. THEN, he asked, does that work for every odd number (since it worked for 3, 5, and 7). I said that I didn't know but I didn't think so. Then we tried some out, and by golly it works .... now I have a slew of triples on hand: (9, 40,41) (11, 60, 61) (13, 84, 85) ... etc. Who knew?

Math! What's not to love?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Politics in the Math Classroom

One of my kids piped up with, "hey miss, did you know that the *horrible hate group* is coming here to rally against *an upcoming proposition*?" Which led to an animated discussion about what proposition he was talking about and such. I didn't want to squelch the discussion, but we had 10 minutes left or so, and I had to finish showing them a particular process. So I said, "we should all be tolerant of other people (except hate groups, of course), whether or not they are like us."

We were getting through our process, and I'm hearing a bit of rumbling & talking about tolerance. Then, after one such discussion, a kid pipes up with, "miss, R___ is lactose-intolerant."