Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Toilet Paper and a SmartBoard

Today I began looking for "first day of school activities" for next year. I know, I know - this school year isn't even over yet and I'm making plans for next year? What can I say - I like to be prepared! In any case, I found a humorous activity that I'm definitely going to be using.

At the start of class, the teacher passes out a roll or two of toilet paper. He or she says "take as much as you think you'll need" and remains quiet when any questions are asked. Once the students have taken what they think they'll need, the teacher tells them that for each square they ripped off, they have to give one fact about themselves.

I think this will be a great activity for me, especially considering I will be the "new student." I will be teaching in a small town where these kids have had each other in their classes for their entire school career. They know everything about each other but I will know next to nothing. I'm excited to try this out and see how it goes. Now I have to practice saying "take as much as you think you'll need" without laughing!

In other news, school got out early today so that the teachers could attend a short SmartBoard demonstration. For those of you who do not know what a SmartBoard is, it's described as an "interactive whiteboard." It combines a marker board, computer, and touch screen all in one. I can't even begin to describe this piece of technology or all the things it is capable of doing. All I know is that the things that can be done with it for math classes are incredible and I'm hoping, hoping, hoping, that my new school will get me one like they said they were going to. Math class could actually be fun! *GASP*

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Never-ending Winter, Part 2

It is currently 30 degrees with winds of 35 mph. This means that with windchill, it actually feels like 15 degrees. (We should not be calculating windchill on April 26th!) In addition to the beautiful temperatures, we also have more snow to look at. I have never experienced a winter that has lasted this long!

Please, if you could, send some sunshine and warm weather this way!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Office

We're so very happy that 'The Office' is back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Call Me Ms. Particular

If you saw my husband and me in the grocery store when buying a new product you would see us stopped in the aisle getting in people's way, calculating unit prices on a cell phone. Yes, we are THAT cheap. We are the crazies that do math to make sure we are getting the best deal.

My husband plans on doing the grocery shopping tomorrow without me. My husband's cellphone is broken which means he does not have access to the calculator function. This means that he will be taking one of our calculators from home.

We own two calculators. One is a Casio and the other is a Texas Instrument. I have never liked TI calculators but have always adored Casios, particularly the one we own now. (I'll be the first to admit that I am a nerd!). When my husband mentioned taking the Casio to the grocery story, I gasped. I immediately informed him that the Casio would be staying home and the TI would be making the trip. Let's just say the TI is sitting by my husband's wallet waiting for the outing while the Casio sits safely here on the desk.

Call me Ms. Particular.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

~Chief Seattle, 1855~

Monday, April 21, 2008


Our apartment complex lost power for about three hours this evening. It amazed me how much I have come to rely on electricity, but how enjoyable life can actually be without it. After a delicious dinner of McDonald's (I was oh so disappointed that I couldn't cook), I spent the powerless hours relaxing on the couch with my wonderful book. And while I admit the television came on shortly after the power was up and working, it was great having a few hours where life felt a little more simple, where life moved at a slower-pace.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Prom 2008

My husband and I spent the past five days carrying out our roles as "prom advisers." This basically meant we lived at the school, watching the junior class decorate for the "Red Carpet Affair." Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday all day and night were spent decorating and Saturday night was the big event. Sunday was the dreaded "tear-down" day, but we made it through quite quickly. While the whole thing is fun (over all), I'm happy to be done with it and more than ready to be back to a normal schedule.

My prom date and me.

Walking the red carpet!

My husband and me in Hollywood!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Perfect Picture of Crazy

My fear came true.

I must have looked the perfect picture of crazy this morning as I stood in the rain, crying, while waiting for my husband to come from work to help me open my defective garage door.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I've been having a tough go of it lately. This past month has done a number on me, to say the least.

Insomnia runs in my family. My paternal grandmother has difficulties sleeping and she passed it down to my father who passed it down to me. Why couldn't I have inherited one of their good genes like patience? In any case, my sleeping problems usually go in spurts and I haven't had a bad spell in quite some time, my most recent beginning about a month ago. While my main problem is normally the falling asleep bit (it has taken me several hours before), my problem now is the staying asleep event. I have never been talented at sleeping through an entire night - I didn't find out until my college years that it's not normal to wake up every time you move into a different position - but lately it's been exceptionally bad. As a last resort, I bought sleeping pills. Unfortunately those pretty blue pills have not helped. I don't consume caffeine - coffee has never been a drink I cared for and I gave up pop several years ago - so I'm running on empty. I'm honestly at my wits end. It's no longer just my eyes that are heavy, but my entire body. I feel as if I'm moving in slow motion and my mind is fighting daily to find a way through the thick fog that has settled in around it. I fear I may soon start looking as crazy as I'm feeling.

Something has got to give.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my little sister! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Never-ending Winter

This is what I woke up to this morning. We are in a 'Winter Weather Advisory' until 7:00 tonight. There is no travel advised in parts of the state.

Mother Nature hates us.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


It's amazing how a much one number can tell you about your students.

This week the number 69 came up in my 7th-grade math classes, my 8th-grade Algebra class, and my 9th-grade Algebra class. Here is the breakdown of reactions to the number:
  • 7th-grade: This number did not register with them as anything other than a number. The kids responded the same way they would have had I said 25, 81, or 104.
  • 8th-grade: Several boys looked at each other, whispered several words, then smiled and snickered. I shook my head at them and told them to stop. My husband said I should have asked them what was so funny. Perhaps I will try that next time I have a chance.
  • 9th-grade: They reacted very similar to the 7th-graders, not because they were unaware of the meaning behind the number, but because 69 is old news to them and no longer all that funny.

I knew it going into the profession, but I'm still surprised on a daily basis at how ridiculous students can be.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pretty Purple Flowers

Two of my cousins came over tonight to watch America's Next Top Model with me. Not only did they bring their wonderful selves, but they also brought a bouquet of pretty purple flowers to congratulate me on my new job. Aren't these daisies beautiful? Thanks again girls!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Shortly after my husband left for work this morning, he called to inform me that there was a car in our parking lot that had been broken into and the stereo stolen. He played 'mother' and told me to make sure to always take the face plate off my stereo no matter how long my car was going to sit empty. When I got back home, my husband told me that there had been several other cars in our parking lot and the lot of a neighboring complex that had been broken into and stereos stolen regardless of whether the face plate was in the car or not. Needless to say, we have now rented a garage for my car. Apartment life is definitely getting old. Can't say I will miss it in the least.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Surprises and Side-Splitting Laughter

This weekend will forever stand out in my mind. Not only was it a fun weekend spent with family, but a weekend that changed the course of life for my husband and me.

After work, my husband and I headed back home. The night consisted of our usual Big Boy dinner and then a few short hours of visiting with family. My mom gave my husband and me our Easter basket that we were unable to get over the holiday weekend. I received a sweater and my husband got candy. Lucky for him, he has a wonderful wife that was willing to help him eat some of the sweets. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful husband who shares whether he wants to or not.

My husband and I spent the early part of the day running errands and then later we relaxed with several games of 'Sorry' and fresh, warm cookies my mom baked for us. In the late afternoon, my husband and I went to "help a friend move." At least that is what we told our parents. While this friend is moving, she was not doing it this weekend and her home was not where we headed. The event we were sneaking away to, the real reason for our visit home, was an interview I had for a teaching position in a town 30 miles from my hometown. At 5:00, instead of packing up items and moving boxes, I was walking around a small town's high school with the principal. After my tour, I was put in the "hot seat" for question and answer time with the superintendent, principal, and three school board members. Apparently the interview went better than I thought because I was offered the job on the spot. The contract was typed up then and there and I signed it before leaving town. I couldn't believe how fast everything had happened and I don't think the smile left my face on the trip back home.

My husband and I always knew we wanted to settle down in our hometown - the city is beautiful and being close to family is very important to us. We decided that if one of us could get a job back home or in the surrounding area, we would head back at the end of this school year. This was more than just a job offering for me - it was the chance to get back to the place I have and will always consider home. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled and these next couple of months cannot go fast enough. While it will be sad to leave behind the wonderful teachers and students at my current school, I have a feeling that I'm really going to enjoy teaching at my new school.

Neither my parents nor my husband's parents knew that we were planning on coming back so soon. They were under the impression (we 'misled' them a bit) that my husband was still planning on going to law school, which would keep us away from them for at least another three years. At supper, we surprised them with the news of my new job, our plans of moving back, and the fact that we'd already been looking at houses during our weekend visits. The looks on their faces were priceless! It was so much fun giving them the good news. Now instead of blogging about wanting to move back, I can post about how great it is to be back!

My husband and I began our day with my parents for breakfast at a local diner. My parents eat at this diner every Saturday morning, never varying their order. They are considered 'regulars' and the minute a waitress or cook sees them in the parking lot, their order is started. My dad can even tell which cook has made his omelet by the size and amount of ingredients. I shake my head at the two of them but I know my husband and I are headed down that same road.

After breakfast there was shopping, looking at a house we were interested in, then more shopping. Errands were finished and then we had time to relax once again. I'm not sure what my husband did with his time, but I got in a nice nap. I love napping on my parents sofa in their warm, sun-filled living room. Oddly enough, it's a place where I get some of my most restful sleep. I hope I have a living room like that in my own home.

Our families met up for a supper of pizza and then an evening spent playing a game of 'Mexican Train Dominoes' and 'Finish Lines.' Like usual, the men won both games and the mothers enjoyed the wine a little too much. There were interesting stories told (both the mothers happened to have a tale that centered around bowel movements) that left us all in side-stitches and tear-filled eyes from the laughter. I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard.

It was a very fun evening, as all evenings are with our families. We definitely know how to have fun - life is never less than interesting.

While it's normally hard for me to say goodbye to our families and hometown, today wasn't as tough knowing I will be back there shortly. Knowing that soon I will not have to make the long drive away from the ones I love so very much is a wonderful feeling.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Combinations and Permutations

I hate probability. I hate it with a passion. It was always my least favorite type of math as a student and it's still my least favorite as a teacher. I'm not going to lie and say the thought of skipping this material hasn't crossed my mind. It would have saved myself and all my students a big headache. However, the standards say it's important, so here I am with a headache.

My 7th-grade students and I have spent the last two days working with combinations and permutations. For those of you who don't know what these are, I'll explain. A combination is the number of possible ways objects can be arranged when the order of the arrangement is not important (i.e. choosing 3 people out of a group of 10). A permutation is the number of possible ways objects can be arranged when the order of the arrangement is important (i.e. choosing 3 people for first, second, and third place out of a group of 10). For some reason, my students could just not wrap their minds around these two concepts and this morning was absolute chaos. I had several students almost in tears, students giving up and laying their heads down on their desks, and students yelling to one another across the room because they needed help and I'm only one person. In addition to all this fun, I told several students they were doing the problems incorrectly when they were in fact doing them correctly and I had no clue myself as to why several of the problems were solved they way they were. My mind was obviously not thinking the same thing the book was trying to communicate.

My frustration today was not with my students but at myself. It was upsetting to me that I couldn't figure out a way to make this material easier for my students despite my best efforts. It's disappointing to be the person that kids come to for help and that help did them no good.

The probability of me ever enjoying this chapter? Zero!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Watership Down

I recently finished reading the novel "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. While I had my doubts when I began, the book turned out to be absolutely wonderful. It was much more than I ever could have expected from a novel about rabbits.

Finishing this book was bittersweet. While I was excited to start a new read (after all, I have all of my library finds waiting for me!), it was sad to leave behind the adventures and characters I had grown attached to visiting each and every day. This was one of those books where I felt as if the characters have been with me forever, as if I was living in the novel with them. I haven't read a book like this in quite a while. When I come upon a read like "Watership Down," I'm reminded of the beauty of our written language and the thoughts and feelings it can ignite in a person. I am always amazed that by simply picking up a book, you can live a whole other life. Even a life of rabbits.