Monday, September 29, 2008

My pecan rolls! pretty yummy.

Maggie and I made walnut-roasted pork loin for 10 on Saturday night. A group of 8 of us went to see Avenue Q. (Tessa, my roommate, and her fiance Ryan ate with us but didn't join us for the play.) Notice the sutures sticking out of the pork - we didn't have any wooden skewers to hold it together, so we used... paper clips? You might want to zoom in for that. And then, we (I) forgot to count how many were put in, so we really hoped that they all made it back out. And they did. And we received lots of compliments on the finished product.
Some of the group - Monica is in the red, looking at our kitchen; Josh is wearing my apron and making pudding; April and Flo are working on the salad; and Michael is... working on his beer.

On a more serious note,I ate with a new-to-City Spanish teacher. She’s Hispanic and grew up in either the DR or Haiti; I can’t remember. She taught at Central in GRPS the past four years after graduating from Grand Valley. I really enjoyed our conversation. She’s a Christian, and told me how she never said anything to her students about her faith, but kept a Bible on her desk at Central. She said that many students would notice that and come up to her, asking her to pray for them, for tests, for situations they were in, etc. She sees herself as a role model to the Hispanic students especially, because the majority of Hispanics at Central were in gangs, and she was an adult who was Hispanic, still spoke with an accent, but was not involved with drugs or crimes. I told her a little bit about my desire to help students, but I feel disadvantaged because I come from a white, upper-class family/upbringing. That’s where the conversation about the Bible came in – she told me that I can be as effective as I want by showing the students that I care about them; for me, that is how I can break the stereotype as she is doing. God put me on the earth in this color; thus, it’s obviously the color I will best bring His kingdom to earth. That’s true, but I’d never thought of it in those words.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Odds Get Even

Today's good news:
- No one dislikes me for moving the test back

- The teachers' union did not call for a strike during their all-union meeting yesterday.

- I woke up from an amazing dream (quite funny in numerous places - there was a horrendous play, but even as an actress in it, I left, so I'm not quite sure of the plot. I came back for the end. In addition, somehow it involved my friend Maggie ripping my teacher's pop-up book. (Pictured below, not ripped.) So I'm glad it was just a dream.) But waking up happy, even early, is a great start to the day.

In other news:
- I have some students that I caught cheating on their homework. I know that happens often (and I know I do it too) but it really is disappointing to see they're not even putting forth any effort. I wish there was a way to motivate students other than grades so that they are challenged to learn the material, not just get good grades. It's a vicious cycle.
- I have a particular student, Student A, whom I really like. He ihas turned in two assignments out of about 24, sleeps in class, etc... But he's really bright. He's been answering questions recently and always answers them correctly. His favorite subject is listed as lunch, and he likes singing. I also think he likes/ doesn't dislike me. So I'm off to an okay start with him. But I don't know how to motivate him.
This got me thinking - the most basic motivation would be to say, "You need this to graduate." But she may not even have graduation as a goal. And, if I really want to go off on a tangent here - is there anything wrong with NOT having that as a goal? I want it - for money, or good jobs... But really, those are telos (plural of telos, anyone?) I've developed. Should I expect everyone to hold the same? I read a short story - thanks, Randall family for the book - named "How to Win" by Rosellen Brown. Her particular story is about a son with a learning disability and his 'only way to win' at school is to take daily drugs that completely change his personality, so it's kind of a sarcastic win. Good connection.

the odds protest.
like my students yesterday.
but not like grand rapids teachers (yet).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bike - Bike Seat = ?

Apparently, bike seats are something worth replacing when they fall off.

I hope you all take my advice if it becomes useful. 

On the plus side, now my quads will be extra-ready for swimming (6 days and counting!) due to all the standing and pedaling I have been/ will be doing until I make it to the bike store.

And I think I'm going to make these yummies this weekend. Please provide tips if you can, because I've recently begun making a mess of everything I've baked. (Although my meatballs did turn out okay, they're still nothing compared to Diane's.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I can't believe now I'M writing something about Sammie...

My sister makes me laugh.

I just talked to her on the phone, and she was telling me about a chicken hat that Dan wouldn't let her buy. I had to ask - for Sammie, or for you? (For her.)
She then proceeded to tell me that Sammie's birthday is coming up next month! And her wishlist is on Petsmart, just so I'm aware! Then, I hear Dan in the background reminding Kristi that his birthday is next week, and maybe I should be reminded of that.
This just goes to support my theory that she really, really, REALLY likes Sammie. In fact, if you look at her blog, the most recent update consists of pictures of Sammie along with Sammie's "captions." Dad and I had a mini-discussion about the amount of times he and I are mentioned in her blog - I had a shout-out on my birthday, and then was mentioned when I visited (but if you look at it, it turns into a story about Sammie, including her most recent height and weight.)
So, Kristi, I'm halfway making fun of you, but realize if I had a dog as cute as Sammie, I'd do the same thing. I'm kind of doing the same thing with all my little students, except I like to combine them into one entity.
this picture seems appropriate, since it looks like Kristi and I are a happy married couple with our big-boned baby. Kristi and Dan, how about a pose like this for Christmas cards this year? Or you can dress Sammie up in her raincoat...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why did the pirate walk out of geometry class?

Today happened to be "Talk Like A Pirate Day." Thus, everything that used a variable somehow used "r" and when I needed another variable, I often used "rrrr" but had the class repeat after me. My pirate joke fell a bit flat, so I asked the class for any. I did learn that pirates thought gold hoop earrings made them see better. I did not learn any good jokes.
That was pretty much my excitement for the day, talking like a pirate and moving them through their first proof, the Overlapping Segments Theorem. (Yes, it's really just as exciting as it sounds.) But Monday should be a lot of fun - doing some student-led explorations of hyperbolic and spherical geometry (making triangles on a sphere and a hyperbolic plane, along with some other cool mini-explorations.)

This weekend is the swim team camping trip up at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan - my last one ever! That seems weird... I'm a senior. We start practice on the 29th of September.

And here's my last link. This is a funny site: Brown Sharpie.

And the answer to the joke I was given as the last class walked out the door?

"because class was over."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my Euler diagram.

Quick anecdotes for the day:
I read "If You Give A Moose a Muffin" to demonstrate if/then statements and logical chains. It was a dramatic reading.

In addition, we did some Lewis Carroll logic puzzles (he's quite smart) and so I spoke with a British accent. Er, my best adaptation of one. Someone told me that it sounded a bit Australian, so I replied with, "Crikey! You're right!" (In accent, of course.)
It is kind of cool that he was a mathematician and an author - English and math, like me. Or, as I said in one of my classes - English and math and British, like me! - to which they all responded with a "...No, Miss Wolfe." My teacher loved my book of choice, and proceeded to give me various links and catalogs containing information on math-related children's books. I'm kind of excited to look at some of them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Michael Phelps doesn't get wet....

Girl: Miss Wolfe, why you all dressed up for something?

Miss Wolfe: This is my "Math Teacher Outfit." And when I wear it, I mean BUSINESS.

She just laughed.

I learned today that I am out of the loop on my lingo.

This boy made a comment about never sleeping, so I said, "Who are you, Chuck Norris?"
And he just looked at me like he couldn't believe I would say that, responding with, "Chuck Norris jokes? Really? It's Michael Phelps now."

I was unaware that Michael Phelps is the new Chuck Norris!

In that case...
Michael Phelps doesn't get wet when he dives in the pool. The pool gets Michael Phelps.

As a tag-along to the above wonderful stories, here is what I sent out in an email to some people - read it if you wish.

My first day of teaching was today! I've been sitting in the classroom, but today I took over the three geometry classes as they started chapter two. Today's topic was "An Introduction to proofs." I was not as nervous as I thought I would be.

At the end of the first class, the talkative boy said, "Miss Wolfe, did we even learn anything today?" I told him that we'll see tomorrow – but I spent the first 50 minutes of the class going through some logical thinking, so hopefully, he just didn't realize that he was learning. I also did Grandpa's proof that 2=1 and made them find the mistake (you can see this if you haven't already; it's all algebraic steps.) The first two classes eventually saw the error, but the third class never figured out the trick, so I didn't tell them.

Then I thought, "Hey! This is a good learning opportunity!" So I went up to board, wrote down "Schadenfreude – taking joy in other people's misery" as a vocab word. I told them that described me as they were trying to figure out how I could get two to equal one. One of the less-motivated students furiously copied it down (others did too, actually) and said "I'm TOTALLY going to use this!" So, at least they learned something, right?