Saturday, May 28, 2005

Post 2004-2005 School Year

Yippee! It's summer (though it's raining outside and doesn't feely summery this Saturday morning). Wednesday was the last "official" day of kiddies. Thursday we had to go in and go through our signout checklist and attend our last staff meeting. Friday I went to Barnes & Noble with a fellow teacher to map out our SAT workshop we'll be giving next week. Today I'm one of about 60 teachers helping with graduation. Tuesday and Wednesday, SAT workshop. and THEN I'm done ..... (except for the occasional meetings over the summer for our new "smaller learning communities" shift next year). Oh, and the book(s) I'm wanting to write ... and the Spanish I'm still learning ... and the teaching books I want to read ... and my files I want to go through .... But good golly, I don't have to get up in front of little kiddies every day and "perform".


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


How excited am I that tomorrow's the LAST official day of school (for the kiddies). WooHoo! I celebrated by leaving work early (for me) and going out to dinner at Whole Foods, then going to see "Bride & Prejudice". Can I tell you that I was the ONLY person in the movie theater? How fun is that. I had the best time. It was a great movie for me to see - the India shots were intriguing, the clothing was colorful and beautiful to behold, the singing/dancing was fun and funny, the story line was entertaining.

Today I gave only one final, so I had time to catch up and put all my "marbles" into place for tomorrow. Yesterday (Monday), I gave 2 finals. Some of the kids I have had for 2 years in a row, and I got hugs and cards and sweet memories. One of the things that makes it worthwhile. Today I had my 3rd period class. My one with the knitter (though she redeemed herself by recommending a good book/series for me to read ... Anne of Green Gables. Love. It.), the cell-phone addict (who had a funny "my cat peed on my pants last night and it smells and I CAN'T concentrate" incident today), the football player who could NEVER sit still and who to no one's surprise turns out to be ADD (today he was drinking a LARGE (64oz?) drink during the 2 hour final. The final in which we can give no hall passes. The final during which he REALLY had to go.)

Whew. I made it through a tough year. Yippee.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mere Days

You KNOW it's almost over when you can calmly smile at little "rascals" and quietly think to yourself: pretty soon, I don't have to deal with your sorry ass behavior any more. Nya Nya Nya. ... My finals reviews went peachy in all 3 of my preps ... I don't know if I can hold out hope that they'll still be engaged by Friday. But, I'm making it worth points for EVERY ONE, and I keep stressing that finals are worth 1/4 of their semester grade, and I'm reviewing in little bites ... Hopefully, this will keep them working for me.

Poop. I just remember that I forgot my plan to cart a little bit home every day this week, so that I wouldn't have a big haul next week. Note to self: do this tomorrow oh forgetful one .... On the personal side. I had a great time after school by going to a trail nearby and rollerblading for an hour. Fun and exercise at the same time.

Review Week

Okay. One full week of review. I anticipate a lot of off task behavior and giggling and yearbook signing with the occasional look at the review problems. That's why I'll make it worth homework points to finish (even for the exempt kiddies). I'll just have to remember to relax and take it with a grain of salt and a big sense of humor and to remember ONE MORE WEEK WOO HOOOOOOOO.

I was reading in another blog (Marcia's Science blog?) about various ways she has her kids "take notes". That excited me because it seems the kids NEVER seem to realize that they can use their notes to study (except for the "good kids" who will succeed regardless). I did buy a book that had to do with "foldables", so I'll have to whip that out this summer and make plans for "note taking" next year.

Yup all sorts of grandiose summer plans for the NEXT school year. Hopefully, there'll be no flaking out. Oh yea! Did I also mention that I have ideas for 3 math "books" to write. Hmmmmm. Check back with me to see which ones get written.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Activity Success

Yesterday for a (small) part of my math classes, I had them do 2 activities that seemed to really engage them and had hilarious results. First, through a series of happenings, I've started drawing one-eyed round people (literally like a smiley face but with only 1 eye) ... and these critters have arms and legs and give you directions on how to complete assignments and such. Then sometimes on worksheets, they are sunbathing or talking French or holding signs .... so anyway, I asked them to let loose and draw me some new critters (small) so that I could cut and paste them on future assignments. They came up with some cute ones (well except for the one or two inappropriate decapitated or keg-looking ones!). The second assignment was to either write a Haiku about math or a math topic, or to write a letter to math, "Dear Math, ...". Oh my goodness did they have me laughing (which is not good since I seem to STILL be getting over a cold and practically everything sends me into a coughing fit. Especially laughing). ... How silent were they while they were drawing and composing. Sheesh, channel some of that focus into math, people.

In other news. I love that every day is a fresh start, and maybe some little kiddies that you snapped at the day before are all happy and bantering with you the next day, when all (seems to be) is forgiven.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Yet again I was reminded of the fact that if I am not well rested .... in fact completely unrested (to bed by 11 and up by 4), then my patience wears thin and I'm a crabby snappy puss with kids that are not doing what they need to be doing .... and then they're jerks for the rest of the period because I loudly told them for the second time to put their yearbook away ... and kept hammering at them until they did .... maaaaaaaaybe could have been more politic in how I approached it, but I'm tired, and it's the end of the year and this particular child is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO needy and (crabby alert) slow and shouldn't really be in my PAP class. Whew.

In other news, had lots of moments of kids making me laugh today, so I will bank those times.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Just in the Nick of Time

Usually I am in a situation in the classroom, and something will come out of my mouth, and THEN I realize that I probably shouldn't have spoken so quickly without thinking first. ... For example, that time when I quickly responded to a student who asked, "Do you know what's fun-----" And right at that point, I assumed he was going to finish the statement with "---funny?", and so I quickly responded, "me!". ... Well in actuality, he finished the question with "--- fun to do?". Yes. My face was red, and the class busted up laughing.

Well, today, we were talking about asymptotes in my algebra 2 classes, and I had them graphing various shifted versions of the parent functions: y = 1/x. I'm walking around to assess their knowledge, and I see this one student's graphing calculator screen, and he has tons of graphs on it, and it looked, well, furry. ..... So the thing I'm proud of myself for NOT saying even though it was ALMOST out of my mouth is, "wow, you've got a hairy asymptote there."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Fun

Had dinner with a friend after work today. I looked forward to it all day ... all day of quizzing my little monsters .... all day of semi-relaxing because I didn't have to be "on" ... all day to contemplate all the grading I'm going to have to do real soon.

Dinner was tasty and the company was great. I love when you can just have a big laugh fest. Puts everything else in perspective. Viva Amigos!

Better and Better...

Does it always happen this way, and I just forget year to year? I'm actually enjoying my classes again consistently. The kids are more pleasant, time goes by quickly, we have laughs together. Even the nudges I have to deal with because of TMC don't bother me so much (late kids are *supposed* to be locked out of class, and then teachers with a prep are supposed to sweep them to the cafeteria). ... Of course now I've sealed it -- it's going to be hell on wheels for the next 2 TWO dos weeks of school that are left (plus finals).

In other news, I'm getting paranoid about my smelly shoes ???? Are they really so smelly that if I stay in my classroom with the door closed on my prep period, then the next class that comes in says, "ew, it smells horrible in here. It's making me nauseous." .... Or am I paranoid? Or am I using that as an excuse to GO TO THE OUTLET MALL this weekend and buy all new shoes. Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rituals ...

I guess I sometimes do things for me in the classroom (they make me giggle or smile or whatnot), and I don't know that the kids start to expect or look forward to these things, too. Most always (always?) I stand at the door at the end of class and say, "bye tall people; bye short people; bye weird people; bye normal people; bye giggly people.... and whatever else pops into my head when I see my various students walking out.

Well, today I was feeling kind of sick and didn't feel like using my voice much, and I didn't do this. I overhear one student after she's out the door, "hey, I miss her saying, "bye so-and-so people ...."". That made me smile.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Precalculus Success

Sometimes I love when at the last minute I get this "light bulb idea" about how to teach a particular topic. That happened today with my precalculus class's first exposure to a derivative. We've been working on limits and left and right limits and then moved on to the calculating of the slope of the tangent line to a curve, and today, Aha. Instead of just telling them the standard "shortcut" form of derivative for f(x) = ax^n ...... I had each group use the formal definition of derivative to calculate it for f(x) = ax^2 + b for various a's and b's, then as a class we looked at all the derivatives, and they saw the pattern. Yea. Tomorrow we'll do 3rd power and also maybe one ax^2 + bx + c one and we'll be off.