Monday, February 28, 2011

Small Successes

Today I gave my Geometry kids their first test.

I was pretty nervous.

Turns out they did great! 10 out of 13 passed it, and the other three successfully revised their answers to come up with a passing test.

The best part was as I was grading one students' test... we'll call him J. J is a very quiet student. He's had to reteach a number of lessons so far. He doesn't often have the answer when I call on him in class. I really didn't know how his test was going to go down.

So J was sitting at the table waiting to get the thumbs up that he'd passed or to get his paper handed back to him. I graded. Correct, correct, correct... he only missed two questions on the whole thing, but he made up for it by correctly answering some of the difficult extra credit questions I'd thrown in. In the end, he got 106%, the highest score of anyone else in the class. And I'm not even kidding, I was just about ready to start tearing up when he broke into this huge grin when I showed his test to him. And when he left the classroom, I saw him stop by Michelle's desk to tell her the good news.

Sigh. Why can't it always be like that?

Algebra takes their first test on Wednesday. Really not liking how it's looking for them. Out of 14 students, 6 show up consistently, and once we get through chapter one, it's going to be really hard for the other students to catch themselves up. Big bummer.

But J got 106%! I'm going to focus on that for tonight!
IPhone + mobile blogging = win


This weekend was crazy busy, crazy fun, and crazy me didn't get nearly as much as I wanted done. Eh. That's what Monday's for, right? Catching up on stuff you ignored over the weekend. Or waiting till next weekend.

(And the cycle continues.)

(Chris knows what I'm talking about.)

(Love you, babe.)

On this weekend's schedule:
1) Friday night we had Sonia, Paul, and Jeremy over for a Wii Sports Resort night. I fed everyone homemade artichoke chip and felt very hostess-y, we drank raspberry iced tea, and we cheered on the boys as they valiantly fought the ninjas through all ten levels. Ninjas grew boring after awhile, and Sonia and I retired to the back of the house for girl talk. Paul found us at 12:30 lounging on the big bed, talking about life and babies. (Cuz that's what you talk about when you're a married female.)

2) Saturday, the coldest day I've ever experienced let-me-tell-you, we went to see a preview showing of Little Miss Sunshine at the La Jolla Playhouse. It was pay-what-you-can day and we paid $5 for what would have been $68 tickets. Ry and I were pretty excited about the cast: all Broadway veterans (even the little girl playing Olive), including Jennifer Laura Thompson, who played the role of Glinda in Wicked after Kristen Chenoweth left the show; Hunter Foster, Sutton Foster's brother (Sutton Foster is my favorite Broadway actress- she's freaking amazing), and Taylor Trensch, who we saw playing Blake Bashoff's replacement as Moritz on the Spring Awakening tour.

Sadly, the show was terrible. Not for the fault of the actors, who were great- especially the girl playing Olive. The show just really was nothing special. We discussed in detail during intermission and after the show, over dinner at Rock Bottom. Consensus: no memorable songs. Not a one. Very little choreography/dancing. It felt like a play with songs sung at each other. Granted, the show's only in previews right now; official opening night is this week, so they're tweaking and changing everyday, but I don't see them making this show spectacular with what they've got.

We also went on a cupcake adventure after Rock Bottom. Ended up at Babycakes. Good cupcakes.

3) Sunday, today, Chris and I ran errands and got a shelf for our garage. We are wild. I prepared a Geometry test for my kids tomorrow, and he organized the garage (as well as put up our new shelf). My sister came over for dinner and to get help installing Office 2010. Which I graciously helped her with, for the small price of one of her three activation keys. Office 2010 rocks, and now it's mine! All mine!

And now it's midnight. Chris is in the office, shooting bad guys and downloading his iphone pictures, and I'm here being enamored with youtube videos of my favorite musicals that I stumbled across while looking up the previous links. I love musicals.

(Just not Little Miss Sunshine.)

(Although the yellow van parked outside the theater was cool. Props for that.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We finally got to decorating over this three day weekend. Pictures were printed and hung. Artwork was placed. Candle holders were strewn about nicely.

And because I'm more in love with the iphone's beautiful picture taking capabilities than my husband is in love with those stupid angry birds, I have created a little sneak peak into our little home. Using the iphone.

(It looks a lot cooler through the iphone lens. Trust me.)

(Also, I feel everyone's taking pictures of what's in their homes lately and blogging about it.)

(I didn't want to feel left out.)

(That is why this post exists.)

Also, my husband loves me much! He sends me loving texts and gives me kisses and squeezes and I just eat it all up.  It's  pretty awesome thing we've got going on here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The iphone is here!

Chris has had his iphone for about two weeks now. I have learned:

1)  I want one.
2)  Angry Birds is the worst game for a husband to be addicted to.
3) The photography apps are ridiculously fun (and I want one).

Friday, February 18, 2011

So how did your day go?

Today my car stalled right when I was about to get on the freeway. Stupid car. And stupid people for honking at me, even though I immediately put on my emergency lights. You know what emergency lights indicate, people? That something's wrong. So please don't honk. You just look rude.

After that, the day wasn't so bad.

At lunch, I went to get my cell phone, as I usually text Chris while I'm eating. You know, things like, "You're the best husband ever!" or "I can't wait to hang out with you tonight!" or just plan ol' "I love you!" Keeps the boy motivated at work. His work is so hard*.


When I went to get my phone, I saw I already had a message from my beloved.

"Um... so I'm on my way to LA in a limo."


When I got a hold of him, he explained that his boss had called the work day off and rented a limo to take the whole gang up to the Getty for inspiration and lunch.

Needless to say, the Woodman gang is very jealous of the Bulldog gang now.

Speaking of gangs, one of my favorite kids was almost shot today! While he was at a gas station getting air for his bike tires, on his way to school, some guy approached him and asked where he was from. I didn't know this, but according to our students, that's gang speak for "What gang do you belong to?" My kid said he was from nowhere... but then he added that the guy might know his cousin so-and-so from such-and-such. And apparently the guy did know cousin so-and-so. Then he proceeded to tell my kid that he was lucky he had a connection; otherwise he would have taken his bike (what a lame gang member, first of all, stealing a kid's bike?) and then gotten my kid to fight him over it, and then he would have shot him for fighting him.

This is a true story.

I had tears in my eyes as he was telling us this story today. I cannot even imagine something like that happening, yet according to my students this happens all the time. Yeah, we (the teachers and CA's) complain that our school is in the hood and that we've got creepy crazies wandering in our parking lot, but none of us have ever dreamed of an experience like that.

Michelle asked our student what he would've done if he hadn't had the cousin card to play.

"I would've had to fight him," he said.

"No, you would've given him your bike and walked away," she told him.

"That's not how it works," he said. "You can't walk away."

This is an interesting juxtaposition of a post. Two different worlds. My husband gets to ride up to LA in a limo, and my student nearly gets shot biking to school.

So how did your day go?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Sometimes, when I think of all the things going on, and the little time I have to write them down to look back on later, I get all bummed out. When I look through my blog from a couple years ago, I LOVE being able to see in such detail what life was like then. It's so hard to find time to blog now, but it's still so important to me to keep track of these things. So two years from now and I can look back and remember all the stuff happening. Especially since this is our first year of marriage- I definitely want to remember this year.

In light of this, I'm going to start trying something new. I'm going to try to get on here for at least five minutes a day, just to give a run down of anything cool that happened, thoughts I had, whatever. It won't be pretty. It might not even be coherent. But at least it'll be there.

So today:

We took our kids on a field trip today to the Chula Vista Nature Center. Pretty cool place. The most exciting thing for almost all of us was seeing a bald eagle up close and personal. Those guys are huge. They also like to stare you down. I kept thinking of that bit Jeff Dunham (he's they comedian with the puppets, right?) does where one of his puppets says, "I keeeeeeeel you!" Anyway, the bald eagle was totally looking at us like, "I keeeeeeel you!" The kids also got to touch sting rays (after being assured the stingers were gone), and those rays seriously liked to splash some water all over us. Especially me, and my camera, and the kids laughed everytime a stingray passed me and purposely splashed the water on me.

We had a fast lunch back at school, while most of our kids went out together to walk to McDonald's. I scarfed down my cheeseburger so I could use my lunch time to finish grading my geometry class' homework. Bad news: most of them totally bombed the homework. I lamented to the others about the trials of kids coming in late, missing class all together, rushing through homework, blah, blah, blah. The kids at our school are just so ridiculously unmotivated, and it makes me want to lower my expectations of them just so they can at least sort of reach them. Luckily, I found this article today on a blog I read, and it helped remind me that the kids are perfectly capable of doing the things I want them to do. Whether they're being lazy or whatever is there problem, but I can't keep enabling their non-productivity.

That said, today's lessons seemed to go well. My Geometry kids were working on area and perimeter. I don't want them to know that area = length times width. I want them to know what area means, that their are squares invovled, and why you multiply length times width. The why was a big struggle for them, and I'm not sure how I could have made it any easier. I mean, I punched out 1 inch squares last night for them to use as models... I think they get the area-means-count-up-the-squares concept, but not why you can simply count the squares up and the squares across to figure it out. Big sigh. The Algebra kids were a bit better. We were learning adding and subtracting real numbers today, and I showed them exactly how negative numbers factor in to that. They seemed to get it after I drew a huge number line on the board.

When I got home from work, I immediately set to planning my lessons for tomorrow- my student teaching advisor comes to observe Geometry tomorrow, so I needed a stellar lesson. Chris went out on a man date with Ryan right after work... it's midnight, and he's just now getting home. Crazy college (kind of) kids.

Okay, husband's home. Finally. Time to go to bed and start it all over again tomorrow.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Math Lessons

Thank goodness for random Friday holidays. (Okay, so I hear it's someone's birthday weekend, but it's not like anyone knows who, right? So. Random Friday holiday.)

Crazy events transpired this week: I started student teaching.

Let me backtrack to explain my student teaching, in contrast to almost everyone else's student teaching. If you're almost everyone else, when you go in for student teaching, you basically have to quit any day job you have to be assigned to any classroom in San Diego. You then work there for free, while gaining hands-on teaching experience. In the beginning, you have a master teacher who actually owns the class, who you watch for awhile, and slowly begin teaching lessons for as the months go by.

I was lucky enough to not have to quit my job, because my advisor already knew the charter school I work for, and it's nontraditional setup, and was completely okay from the start with letting me do my student teaching there. Excellent! Didn't have to quit my job, just had to work extra hours in the afternoon.

So we set up "classes" for me to teach. Normally, the school is 100% independent study. The kids go through one or two classes at a time, in the pace of about a month each (theoretically), and everyone's on different classes, and at different parts of the classes at any one time. When I tutor in math, I've usually got a variety of kids from Algebra, Geometry, and my fave student who just so happens to be the only student at our site who's in Intermediate Algebra. Some are in the beginning of these classes, some in the middle, some are reteaching lesson six ten times. The point is, they are never all on the same schedule. Until now.

Two classes. One room the size of our dining room. 30 students who don't want to be there. (We're working on that.)

The first few days weren't bad, to be fair. Geometry so far, which consists of the students I'm most familiar with, since most of them are mine and Michelle's students, is by far the more interesting and interactive. The younger kids in Algebra are quiet... which is good... but it's also bad. I had to start them a day late though, and then we had to cancel their second class, due to last minute interview scheduling from our higher-ups (more on that later).

What I've learned so far:
It's going to be a lot harder than I thought to get them in their seats each day. Our students are already notorious for missing their scheduled days, leaving early, and not showing up for weeks on end. Sheesh.

It's really hard to gage how everyone is understanding. I look around the room and see one of four faces: 1) Nodding and clearly understanding, 2) Pretending to understand, 3) Looking confused, and 4)... well, I can't see 4's face, because he's trying to fall asleep on the desk. Punk. The problem is, they mix and match these faces, so sometimes 3 is the one who's actually getting it, and 1 just thinks they get it and then checks out.

Teaching is draining. When the Algebra kids scamper out at 4:15, all I can think is McDonald's 99cent coke, and nap. One of the teachers pointed out the problem is that you are performing for hours on end. Ri-diculous. You're trying to stay energized, you're trying to energize them, you're trying to keep them from talking to each other, you're trying to stay positive when you call on a kid and they totally bomb the question, you're trying to figure out a way to get kid 4 to get his face off the desk and participate. It's tiring.

Positively, I think the kids are starting to dig the class. One of my more sullen students seemed to perk up around day two and has been the one volunteering to come to the board to solve problems. The one student I thought I'd have the biggest problem with (she's pretty mouthy, and made it very known she did not want to be in the class) has actually been one of the best to have in the class, because she's one of the few confident enough to spout out answers, even if they're wrong. And one of my quietest kids has been doing great on her homework and has been giving answers out loud (albeit quietly so only I can hear) in class.

It's a lot of hard work. I want so badly for all the kids to succeed, and although it's only been a week so far, I might have to realize the hard fact that not all of my kids are going to try. And I really can't do much past them not trying for themselves. It bums me out, though.

In other news! The higher ups found money in the budget to hire on five CAs to full time positions. Those of us nominated from our sites went in for interviews on Thursday afternoon (which is why I had to cancel the Algebra class that day). I'm a bit concerned that the powers that be will look over me since they're already getting me and my extra 15 hours for free from student teaching, but I'm also the only one who interviewed from one of the largest sites in the South County, finishing up my math credential, and expressing interest in working at the school as a teacher, so I'm hoping those facts will overpower the desire to save some bucks.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I am literally about to start teaching my first math class. Like, in 15 minutes. Wish me good luck, and that the kids don't try to mutiny! (That's really my biggest concern.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Year.

Chris and I started out the new year doing a newborn photo shoot for one of his best friends (yes, one of the infamous Ch(K)rises) and his wife, and his wife's sister and husband, who had their baby on the same day. Yes, these cousins were born on the exact same day, isn't that wild? I can't post many, because Chris will be mad that he didn't get to post them first (you know it's a little true, babe!), but here are just a microscopic sampling of my favorites! I'm thrilled we got so many good ones, considering a certain newborn was SO NOT in the mood for pictures on that day. But in between the shrieking and sleeping and feeding, we managed to have a pretty awesome day of photography. :)