March 26, 2006

Sick Days

I am starting to believe there is a conspiracy. How come I only get sick on Fridays and have to spend my weekends curled up? Why is it that I do not get sick on say Tuesdays, so my days of curling up are actually workdays?

The problem with working with kids is that they are germy and are highly contagious. The only upside is that I might be better prepared for the bird flu than most.

I am tired of hearing myself moan about being sick. How do people who are chronically ill deal with things? I'm going nuts, and am prickly, and all I have is the flu.

March 20, 2006


Something has been bugging me for almost a year now. Why do my students not see the connection between Math and Science? A possible answer has occurred to me.

Students are not taught to connect the content of one class with another. Starting with elementary school, they are taught to compartmentalize - it's now time for math, OR science, OR social studies. There is little overlapping of concepts from one area to another.

I also discovered that my 7th grade students have not seen math in science until now. Never! We have started Physics, (and this is the first time they have encountered Physics), so now they see math taught in what should be a science class. How is it that kids do not get exposed to physics at an earlier age? They are taught all the "fuzzy" stuff - animals, volcanoes, etc. Nothing that requires math. At the last science staff meeting, I heard that many elementary teachers (who teach all subjects) are not comfortable with the science topics, so do not focus as much time for science as for, say, reading. Hmm.

I have already started to notice that many of my "good" students, especially girls are starting to loose interest in science - there is just too much math. And that brings back old demons.

I was under the impression that we loose students, especially girls, in middle school, and I've found that to be only partially correct. We really start to loose them in the elementary grades by not exposing them to the interconnectedness of their classes, and then springing physics on them at an age when most students are undergoing physical changes and struggling with how they look, etc.

Since so much teaching is geared to testing, there would need to be a revamp of the system to make any real and lasting change.

March 18, 2006

To Do List

** Lifted from

St. Patricks Day

Met up with some friends at Doyle's in JP for drinks and dinner on Thursday night. It was a fun evening, filled with good conversation and laughter. What more could one hope for? Well how about Absolut and Cranberry with lime for $4.25? And their fries rock.

My little buggy is in the shop. On the round-about route I took to get to JP on Thursday evening, my little car started overheating. Why is it never easy to get in and out off JP? On my ride home, the buggy acted like something out of a Stephen King novel - Christine? She was revving her engines at stop signs and lights. And still over heating. Called Susan to let her know that I might need a bailout. But my little buggy that could, got me home in one piece - though there was smoke coming out of the hood when I pulled into the driveway! She's now in the shop, where she'll have to get a new radiator, hoses and thermostat. Ouch!

On to more delicious things. Decided to take a mental health day yesterday. Even though I had everything setup for the sub, I still felt guilty. The ol' Catholic Guilt kind. Well, decided to spend the day in bed - napping, reading, snacking. Rafiki joined me for portions of the afternoon - not so much for my company as the fact that the electric blanket was on. There is something sublime about being warm in bed with a purring cat and hearing your partner in the kitchen making what you know will be a delicious dinner. And so it was. Traditional boiled dinner with spices. Yummy in my tummy. :-)

Quote of the day

Nothing worth doing is completed
In one lifetime,
Therefore we must be saved by hope.

Nothing true or beautiful makes
Complete sense
In any context of history,
Therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, no matter how virtuous,
Can be accomplished alone.
Therefore we must be saved by love.

-- Reinhold Niebuhr
(from my friend Maria)

March 7, 2006

"But I thought this was a science class!"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I could buy some cool toys.

It's hard for me to understand how kids get to 7th grade without knowing how to multiple or divide decimals. Or how to calculate averages. Or how to multiply or divide by multiples of 10, without doing it longhand (what ever happened to simply moving the decimal?!!) I spend more time teaching math this week and I did science.

We are learning physics - the first time they have ever seen it!! How it THAT possible? Right now it's all about motion, distance, speed. Well hit a road block at distance, since most of my kids are not sure how to convert mm to km, etc. So, out with the lesson plan for today and the rest of this week - they need to get that down before we talk about speed! Yikes.

In response to the question my kids always ask, I simply say that math is one of the tools that we use to describe science, and if they knew their math, I could get on with teaching them science :-)
The state of public education today is scary.

March 5, 2006

Yipee Kay Yeah!

The science test is behind me and I can now play again. The test covers biology, physics, chemistry, earth sciences, weather, astronomy, etc. It has 2 essay questions and 100 multiple choice questions and lasts 4 hours.

Too bad that unlike "who wants to be a millionaire" there are no options for 50/50 or dial a friend. Could have called Susan to ask why it is that Mercury is only visible just after sunset and just before sunrise and not in the middle of the night. Hmmm.

The amazing thing about this test is that there are almost no direct questions - it's all applied knowledge. It was actually enjoyable taking it - makes the brain tingle. It's a test designed to clearly see what you know and what you don't. So I know that I need to spend more time looking up - weather and astronomy are not my strong points - though I do have seasons down :-)

I think that every parent should review their middle school science books. It's what their kids are going to ask about. The best part about studying for this test is that it reminded me of all the things about science that I love (and the things I did not care about - and still don't - it's hard to get excited about weather at the equator!).

I think I did ok. Will know in a month or so.
Science is cool!