Sunday, December 9, 2012

raindrops on roses and fruit-rollups-on-apples...

A brief series of school updates, each followed by a picture:

I led a portion of a staff meeting a couple months ago regarding mentoring relationships with students. I wanted the adults to be ready to "hop right in" to their role as a mentor, so obviously, I had no choice but to create frog treats and dress like a frog. The frog treats are made of green apples with peanut butter and a red fruit-rollup for a tongue, with raisins for eyes. The frog shower cap... is from my darling sister. I finally get to use it!
I've been teaching Algebra II, precalculus, and AP Calculus this year. My precalculus class is a lot of fun: we had a competition within the class and the teams decided that they wouldn't mark their points in tally marks, but in units relevant to their team name. The boys, "Team Romeo," marked their score in hearts. The girls (Team Marshmallow and Team Junior Awesomeness) marked their points in marshmallows and exclamation points, respectively. 

I made homemade ravioli with some students yesterday. Sweet potato, coconut milk, and chili raviolis! They were delicious and the girls were actually excited about being at a teacher's house on a Saturday. I've been building good relationships with students this year: a number of students stopped by on a Friday a couple weeks ago to say hello. (They were at a student's house who lives across the street.) Unfortunately (luckily?) I was in pajamas, glasses, watching an ABC Family Original Movie, and eating a deep-dish chocolate chip cookie. I tell them that there's no point in pretending to be cool. Just go with it. (And then we listen to Taylor Swift if they get their homework done.)

Some students made this sign for me one day:
It was perfect because I had been having a rough day. They had no way of knowing it was a day when I needed to know that I am tough! They may have meant mean... but I take it as inner strength... and outer strength, of course.

Merry Christmas season!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

quick update

Best birthday card ever.

I've had a great summer so far. I'll be in Ohio for a couple more weeks (two-ish) and then back up to Grand Rapids. So far, I've been doing swim lessons, planning calculus lessons, ziplining, and I did a short stint with stand-up-paddle boarding. As in, I spent maybe 30 minutes on the water having a lot of fun before I was so hot that I knew I'd rather swim in the ucky water than be on top of the water.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

actual quotes.

Student, to me, after I checked to see that both sides of his worksheet were done: "What have I ever done to you? I make your life more difficult, but other than that..."

Teacher, to student: "You may be a little bit rude and a little bit self-centered..." Student: "..." Teacher: "No, I'm done."

Student, to teacher: "If you acted more like Student, maybe you'd have a girlfriend."
Teacher: "I'd rather die alone."

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Tell someone you love them today, because life is short. But shout it at them in German, because life is also terrifying and confusing.

Spouse of teacher: "These cookie dough truffles are amazing!" (To which I agreed.)

Me: I can't believe the school year is over!

Monday, May 28, 2012

"because 26.3 would be crazy!"

I recently went to a conference for teaching AP calculus (which I'll be doing next year - hurray!) and learned some new tricks on factoring. I learned that I need to learn the "hand trick" for knowing trig values of the unit circle, but I haven't done that yet. Not sure what it is...

 The conference inspired some artwork out of me.

Memorial Day weekend, I went to the Bayshore marathon in Traverse City. It was beautiful... let's vacation there, please. The marathon itself finished on the college campus' track with everyone cheering you on. I had a PR of 3:38.11. Thanks to the random people that I ended up running with! And to whomever had pretzel rods at mile 20. I think I fell in love. No thanks to whomever handed me the peanut M&M: yes, it tasted absolutely fantastic... but only once. The second time: not so much.
 The course is an out-and-back up the peninsula over the East Bay. The photo below is the view from the house that I stayed in (actually, it's the view that I woke up to.) It's a little cloudy, great for a marathon, but you can see the peninsula that we run up on the left side of the photo.
 Then, the next morning, I woke up a little stiff but fantastic because of this view out the screened in porch. Watch the succession of photos - good thing the marathon was Saturday and not Sunday. This is maybe 6:00ish. (I need to learn to sleep in, I know.)
 Then at 6:30ish, the clouds started rolling over the peninsula (again, that's where the course was.) Look at that amazing storm!
 And then the clouds came over the East bay, darkened the sky, and it stormed/ down-poured/ etc. from 8 - 3. I love storms. Absolutely love them. I watched this one until I finished reading a book, then drove around to the Grand Traverse Resort, a winery, and the downtown.

I have other news... Like the fact that there's nine days of school left... I made soft pretzels with students... I went to a cottage house with the freshmen girls... I saw The Addams Family musical (and recommend it, surprisingly)... Track is over and that was fun... I want to go swimming... but I'll end with a beautiful thought. Someone asked me, about 30 minutes after I finished, what my next one was going to be. Me: "Are you crazy? I can't do another one yet." Apparently, there's a running quote out there about needing to forget the last marathon before doing the next. Like Mark Twain says,

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

REVOLUTIONARY. also, general updates.

Mandelbrot Set
I have succeeded as a teacher today! We watched a video on fractals in geometry class today. (Fractals are specific patterns that repeat infinitely, like this shape.) We ordered pizza, students came in from lunch early and brought brownies/ chips/ pop, and we watched this PBS video. It's definitely a math topic, but I watched it (all the way through) and thought it was interesting.)

Heard outside my hallway: 
"Well, fractals are these shapes that look the same, no matter how zoomed in you are. It was pretty much revolutionary."
... I thought she was being sarcastic... now I don't think so. Another student commented that it was really cool and they used fractals to draw pictures and do special effects in movies. They were genuinely interested, and genuinely thought that it was revolutionary. (One thing about fractals is that they have infinite length, so it can look like something is a complete shape, like the picture, but the perimeter can't be measured.)

Other news:
- I'm training to run the Bayshore marathon over Memorial Day weekend in Traverse City. I've heard that it's beautiful up there and am excited to see the country, eat some cherries, buy some jam, and run the course. 
- I've been going to a church that I really like and it reminds me of Veritas. Yay!
- I've been baking some things (from Joy the Baker's cookbook, among others) and also making lots of soft pretzels. I made some cheese-filled soft pretzels the other day and they turned out well. Very excited.
- Track started! I'm coaching middle school track, which so far means that the high school coach works with the sprinters and I run with the distance runners. Our first meet is tomorrow, down in Kalamazoo.
- Spring break is coming up- I'm over 3/4 of the way through the school year. I'll have to sit down and think through some reflections to post for you and to help me. Over spring break, I'm a) visiting Kristi, b) heading to Columbus for three days, c) housesitting for another teacher, d) taking a bath, e) doing a speed workout, and f) baking something delicious. Not necessarily in that order.

Other other news:
A student told me that I had marker on my chin - which would be a totally normal occurrence, except that it was only first period. I realized that I have a burn mark on my chin.

Remember those deep dish chocolate chip cookie bowls that I made? I made them again, and apparently couldn't wait long enough to shovel the cookie into my mouth. I hit my chin on the ramekin and burned it. That, I think, was more embarrassing to explain than saying I had marker on my chin. Long story short: still delicious. But maybe wait more than 30 seconds to shove your face into the ramekin?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"then let me know how!"

We recently held exams for the students. Consider the following:

I added a part c, asking (as I have on every single test so far this year) what a "reasonable domain" is for the problem.
The students can demonstrate that they know which variable is the independent variable and that negative numbers are unacceptable when the variable is months (or time in general).
That's all I look for - something that says "t > 0." If I see that or anything close, they get full credit. However, I have some students that add their creativity to the problem and it makes me smile. I thought I'd share with you two of my personal favorites.

"0 < t < 50 because then she gets married."

"0 < t < 700. <- This is 58 years later, so she would probably not live this long. If she did, I'd like to meet her to know how she lived so long and to get some of her money."

The first response is from a Burmese refugee that's only been at the school for one year, I think. The second is from an intelligent freshman who, I'm convinced, needs a special test that actually challenges him. (He also got the extra credit question of defining "defenestrate" by dissecting its Latin (Greek?) origin.)
((It means to throw out a window. It's one of my favorite words.)) (((I like to use it in story problems.)))