Thursday, November 11, 2010

BIG news!

So, work at Oakhaven has been going great! I'm totally settled into the routine of teaching, the kids are great and Geoff and I have a great routine.

Well, the weekend of Halloween (this past weekend) I still wasn't feeling well. It had been nearly a week of feeling icky. Friday nite I bought a pregnancy test to take Saturday morning. AND IT WAS POSITIVE!!!!

We will be having baby #3 around June 23rd, 2011!!!

Everyone at work and at home is very excited!

This week has been busy as we prepare for the THINKSHOW. It's kind of a neat program that the entire school district puts on. My students did 2 projects. As a class we did a meiosis at work project showing weird heriditary traits that people have. As groups they did a poster with 3D models of the cell during each stage of meiosis, described what happens during meiosis, gave an example of meiosis in medical or scientific research and an example of how meiosis has gone wrong. I was very proud of those who were able to complete their prokects. For the spring though, I will definitely do something a little more elaborate and start earlier!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crazy Things have been happening!

So, obviously it has been MONTHS since my last update. So, I'll try and give a breif synopsis of what you've missed while I was away.

Late July:
I attended inservice with my dad as we prepared for the school year to start. It was somewhat informative, but I made several good friends!

Just before school started I was asked to help coach the Cheer team! I was so excited to be able to participate in that way. The school year got off to an ok start and I was on my way to being a "real" teacher. :) I finished my summer classes with 2 A's and was looking forward to my fall classes. The kids also had a good start to their school year at Grahamwood Elementary and we had everything in place for our nanny to help out in the mornings. Life was looking pretty ok.

The majority of the month of September went well. It was a blur of cheer practices, football games, school, teaching and kids...and swimming! Life seemed to be going fine..Until week 6 of school.
On Monday of week 6, September 20th, the day before my 9th wedding anniversary, my principal informed the school that he was going to have to surpluss a few teachers. (Surplusing means that the school has more teachers than the Board of Education believe need to be in the school) Needless to say, I was more than a little upset.
On Tuesday, Geoff brought me flowers, a card and a sandwich (that he made) for our 9th annivesary, it was so sweet!
On Wednesday, my Principal waited until after our faculty meetings and academy meetings to inform me that I would be surplussed and that the next day I needed to attend a surplus fair to get a new job.
So, on Thursday, I signed a contract with Dr. Durrah at Oakhaven High. I was excited to have a job, but nervous about what the future would have in store.
On Friday, I went back to Kirby, gave out the jerseys to the cheerleaders, gathered my belongings, had my phone stolen and left the school.

Monday, September 27th was my first day at my new school. I spent the day getting my room in order and on tuesday I got my classes.

My first full week at my new school was Homecoming! It was hard to get into the school spirit since I no longer was at the school I was used to and didn't know much about my new school or students. Everyone was amicable and the kids seemed fine. I was just very unsure of where I stood and it made me nervous.

I spent most of the month working diligently on being prepared each day and working ahead on my planning. I developed my system for my classroom and how I would teach each chapter became my own personal formula.

As of now, I have finished my White Board Protocal for the entire year and have made charts for each quarter. I have also started outlining my syllabi for the 3rd and 4th quarters.

In home news, Geoff and i finally came up with a remodel plan for our kitchen and storage room that we are both happy and excited to do! We went to the Home depot and with the help of Chris in the design center, we should be able to have this done by April or so.

More news to share, but it will have to be in another post!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I got a job!!!

I interviewed with both schools and was offered and accepted a job at Kirby High School!!!

I am very excited and honored to begin working there this fall.

On a happy note, I found out that one of the other students who is in the fellowship program with me will also be working at Kirby High School, too!!!

Happy Happy Happy!
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Monday, July 19, 2010


I am quite excited to announce that I have two interviews tomorrow!!!!

One is at Kirby High School and the other is at Craigmont High  School.

Let's hope all goes well!

Tonite I have a quiz in my Assessment Class and will be working on homework for my online class. It is a very exciting time for me.

Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today's homework for my online class.

So, we had a few discussions to do. I've tried to make them as easy to follow as possible. And where possible I have included the links to the original material to make sense of the information.

  • Describe the effective integration of technology with teaching and learning.
  • How have your ideas about this changed thus far in the class?
My answer:
Describe the effective integration of technology with teaching and learning.
In order to effectively integrate technology with teaching and learning, the instructor must be willing to make a mistake in front of the class. Part of the learning and teaching experience is beign able to make mistakes "teachable moments". Sure, it stinks to have the computer or the program put up a dialog box that says you messed up, but it's also really cool to be able to demonstrate for your class, via a computer projection, a digital image of how to disect a frog.
On the other hand, being able to do "cool stuff" on a computer should not be the only accomplishment from the integration. The students should learn some sort of skill in the process that is applicable to the real world, is a valuable workplace skill and (bonus) can be helpfulin other classes.
How have your ideas about this changed thus far in the class?
Before  taking this class, I would have said that technology integration was accomplished if the students wrote their reports on the computer and then emailed them to the professor or used the computer to do research or if the professor used a power point presentation. Now I see that using a power point is unfortunately being seen as a modified projection of slides to be copied, the research is not peer reviewed journal articles but wikipedia and writing reports and emailing them is the digital version of handing in your homework.
Obviously, my perception of effective technology integration has matured to say the least.

 Discussion 2:
Consider the information from Anderson, Grant, & Speck's Excerpt from Chapter 2: Technology Tools to Support Literacy (as well as the other reading material in this module) and describe 3 different strategies you could use to integrate technology with teaching and/ or learning in your class.

Review the ideas of your classmates and consider the possibility of using or adapting their strategies in your classroom. Discuss your thoughts as appropriate.
My answer:
In biology we sometimes are limited to the uses of technology and it other ways we have been blessed!
Due to the religious attitudes of many and the verocity of our population towards legal action there are now several programs that allow you to do a Digital Dissection. This program allows the students to get all the real-world experience of doing a frog dissection, without the gross out factors including the smell of fermaldihyde. (sp?)
Another fun one for me is Google Wave. If you are not on a wave and would like to be invited to mine, just message me in "real" email at This program allows you to send "waves" to a person or a group of people and you can follow the wave and see what they do or where the articles or other digital materials go. It's pretty cool.

Using the google wave program, I would send an article to my class. Assigning each of the kids a day in the wave, their job would be to read the article (from a reputable, peer-reviewed journal) and then find something that was of interest to them to then send the next part of the wave. At the end of the wave, we would have 30 (1 for each student) articles. They could then pick an article to either write a 5 paragraph essay on or share in some way with the class. (poster or presentation). Whatever response method they chose would be added to our wave series.

The really fun part is that you can covert the wave to a blog posting ( or series of postings) and that you can start a new wave with each new topic of study in the class.

Finally, I think it is important for kids to understand their environment and the impact that their choices have on the world around them. Using a geopost the kids can track the movement of waste as it is collected and eventually deposited in a landfill or sent out via liquid waste disbursement etc. They can then digitally do a time-sped model to see how the waste will effect the environment at that same rate continued over a period of time.

Also, have you guys seen the new sun chips bags? They are supposed to be compostable. How cool would it be to take a digital picture of a sun chips bag compost and see if different composts will speed up the degration of the bag?

For a science experiment a student could use a series of glass compost boxes. put the bag up against the glass and in each compost use different materials of waste. Each day they would take a picture. Then they could use a computer to create a slideshow (or imovie) to show the degration of the bag over time in a side-by-side comparison of which goes faster.

 Also, I intend for each of my classes to have a blog where either daily or weekly or as frequently as possible. The students discuss what they thought of the different classroom exercises, what they learned, etc. Hopefully, over time, they'll get a better understanding of what we're doing in class and I'll get to see how they're liking what we're doing. It can alsobe a way of keeping the parents informed of what we're doing in the classroom.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Exciting Things!!!

Sorry I missed my Tuesday list! I'll have to do that next week. However, this has been an eventful 2 days!

I have now gone to my evening class about assessment and have participated in my online class about technology in the classroom; I have also talked to my online professor.

I am very excited about all the cool things we will be doing in the online class and I'm hoping that it will carry over into the school year easily.

In my classroom class, Assessment and Evaluation, the professor is very entertaining and I've met several people who are in the Fellowship program too! We are very well-educated and eclectic bunch! One guy even plays in a band and another has been an electrical engineer for 35 years.

I also found out today that my resume has gone out to principals so I should start hearing from them to interview soon!

In other cool news, I found out today that one of my friends from Grad School has also decided to become a teacher!! Yeah! I hope all things work out well for her.

Now, I have to go work on my homework and finish reading for class tonite.

I'll be posting my work here later so that anyone who wants to see what we're doing and learn stuff too, can.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Classes Start Today!

Today is the first day of classes for my summer classes. Wooray!!

One class is a technology integration class. This one is 3 weeks long, 19 days, to be specific. Frought with lots of digital assignments, some of which may get posted here. I have already done today's assignment, printed out a bunch of 'stuff' and reviewed the projects to be completed. It looks like a lot for 19 days (when I still have everything else to get done too...) But, alas, it is school and I am so excited to get moving!

The other class is classroom assessment. For which I have also done the first assignment. This one is a 5 week lecture class, and I must admit I like a class with face time! My dad alrady took this class, from the same pressure :)

On a bittersweet note, this weekend was the last chance for Annie to qualify for our Regional Swim Meet. She worked so hard to get as fast as she could and when it came time for the 50 breast, she put it all out there in the water...and dropped 8.9 seconds!!! (For those who don't know, this is an INSANE amount of time to drop and basically no one does this!) However, it still put her 4.7 away from the cut...We have decided to look forward to next summer, when we could have as many as 3 cuts!

Off to finish the work and get ready for class!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting for a School

So, I signed my Fellowship contract today to teach for Memphis City Schools as a High School Biology teacher. I am really excited about this new chapter, however, I am a little nervous.
My nervousness primarily comes from the fact that I am a little obsessive compulsive and like to plan and that is hard to do if you don't know where you are going to be and what your schedule is going to be. It also is because I will have to coordinate with Geoff to get our kids to and from their school, so we'll have to get a nanny.

In the meantime while I wait I have met with one of my friends who was a Teach For America teacher. She gave me lots of great resources, but I still want some serious planning and information. I also am a member of the National Science Teacher Association they also have lots of great resources!

Now, I just need to figure out how to stay calm without knowing what's next...ugh...

This book also has some good insight, though I have to admit I don't own it yet...Maybe when I get a Nook!!
Cover of Wendy Kopp's book One Day, All Childr...Image via Wikipedia
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Contract is Signed!!

I just signed my Fellowship Contract! It's official, I am a Noyce Grant Teaching Fellow. *Sigh* Now, I just need to find out where I'll be teaching...

On another happy note, there are only 3 weeks left until I no longer have 107 jobs!!! Hooray!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time for School!

I am officially registered for classes for this summer!!! OMG! So, it looks like I'm going to finally get on track for becoming a teacher. I spent saturday with a friend trying to psych myself up for the first day/week of school. Hopefully that will work...

Monday, July 5, 2010


Ok, so there is a lot to update about, so I'm dividing them by subject...

Dad: He was offered and accepted a job teaching at Central High School! He will be teaching practical law and personal finance. He is super excited and I couldn't be happier for him.

School for me: I got accepted into the Masters in Teaching program and into the Noyce Grant Fellowship. You can read more about the fellowship program , it is an amazing opportunity and I am super excited! I start classes next week!

Teaching: I do not know yet where I will be teaching. I was accepted into the new teacher pool for Memphis City Schools before I got the final and official acceptance into the Fellowship we'll see!

I graduated with my Masters in Sociology in May and with my Certificate in Women and Gender studies...all in all things are going well...

I just wish they would go faster!

Monday, March 1, 2010

TEP Interview

I scheduled my interview for the teacher education program last week. I just need to get my background check done. Finger prints and all..

My parents took my kids out of town for the weekend and I told my dad I had scheduled my interview. He said that the woman who oversees the interviews asked if I was his sister. (In her defense, she has never laid eyes on me...and I do write like a "real grown-up" in emails.)

Is it terrible that I was not amused by this anecdote? I know my dad was and he did correct her, but still!

Later I intend to post complete instructions (as best I can) for those of you interested in becoming a teacher in Memphis City Schools, yourself.

Step 1: Take a Deep Breathe.

Step 2: Get a heaping helping of patience...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tests, Tests and More Tests

So, I found out that I passed the Health Education exam, and I had already passed the Biology Exam. Next up will be, General Science, Geography, Sociology and I am considering taking the Chemistry Exam.

Eventually I will get my certification in A & P...

I have spent a lot of time working on lesson plans for things that I want to teach.

I also have to get a background check so that I can be interviewed for the Masters of Arts in Teaching Fellowship at the University of Memphis. I am supposed to start that in June.

Side notes:
1. I should be defending my thesis proposal soon.
2. I am presenting my thesis at a major conference for sociology in April...

I just hope things keep moving forward in a positive direction...limbo is a frustrating place to be..

Monday, February 15, 2010

talked to my dad today...

So, today was President's Day. For most that means being annoyed by the lack of mail and inability to go to the bank, for teachers; inservice.

Since my dad and I are not yet teachers, it meant a serious amount of downtime.

So my daughter and I got a chance to stop by the house and say hi.

We talked about how frustrated we are waiting and waiting and waiting for the new application to open for non-certified teachers with MCS...ugh.

On a happy note, passed the Health Ed PRAXIS.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


So, I turned in the application for the Fellowship the other day. I am now officially on my way.

I still have to get a background check for the TEP (Teacher Education Program) but otherwise, that application is totally done, as well.

I finally made a decision about the Memphis Teaching Fellows. I decided not to interview with them for a subject I'm not actually interested in teaching. Something in me feels like that is deceitful.

I have done everything I can to keep my application with Memphis City Schools up to date so that I can get in there for the fall...

Why does this all seem to take so long!!!????

Oh and to make it more fun, I have now found out that there are no less than 5 of my friends in one class or another with my dad this semester...can't pretend I'm not a little jealous... :(

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some days are not great.

So, I am finishing my Masters of Arts in Sociology. This semester I am a graduate assistant to the department chair. Which means I help him with research and help him teach Statistics. I also am taking Medical Sociology. Which is way fun! I was supposed to be taking 2 other classes, both education, that were going to help me work forward to my Masters in Teaching.

My thesis chair informed me that I cannot take 3 classes and have to drop both of the education classes so that I can focus on my thesis.

I am frustrated that my dad gets to continue in the world of education classes and I don't.

I really want to move forward with my life and get out of limbo.

I am chairing my high school reunion and I really don't like the idea of showing up as a recent Grad School grad and not much else to show for the last 10 years other than a husband, 2 kids and a house.

That sounds terrible, but I really would like to at least be employed. or have lost 20 pounds and look better than I did when we graduated... but employed would be nice...

Monday, January 18, 2010


My family and I just returned from an exceptional trip to Denver for my cousin's wedding.

The city is a wonderful laid back type place and with the mountains as a backdrop, it's amazing anyone gets anything done!

While I was in Denver, I couldn't help imagine what it would be like to teach in such an incredible place.

I picked up the Westword, the local free paper, and last thursday's hot topic was the closing of PS1, Denver's most recent attempt at a charter school for students who have not been able to achieve in traditional education programs. These students have the typical problems found anywhere; learning problems, rough family life, poverty, lack of study skills or behavioral issues. The tough part is that the city school board has not found a solution for the lack of scores and cannot find a better place for the students either.

After reading the article, I was more compelled than ever on two things. First, I feel an inner need to teach and help. I wanted to be teaching today, to take students outside and show them the ways that biology is all around us and how science quietly and gracefully weaves in and out of our daily lives. and Second, I need to live in a city like Denver. I don't know if Denver is where I have to be but, I definitely was inspired by the "vibe" of the city. It has a natural flow that makes sense to me. The mountains are near by and what's incredible is the way that nature makes it possible to experience so many different things in the same area. In the summer, all the way through to the winter, the mountains are there to create all new ways to understand nature and biology.

For now, it's time to focus on those things that are right in front of me... Passing all my certifying exams! and finishing my Masters in Sociology.

I'm waiting on pins and needles to hear if I passed the last exam I took.

So, it's back to writing the thesis, teaching stats and helping to teach/take my Medical Sociology class. Graduation is May 8th!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To interview or not to interview???

So, I applied a while back to two different programs in the city for becoming a teacher. The first is the city school system itself... We'll save that story for another day...

The other was to a Teaching Fellows program that helps to train teachers in the city to work in high needs areas of the city. The only problem is that they have offered me a position in an area that I am not really interested in teaching...

So the debate is, do I move forward and interview and take the certifying test for this other area or do I wait to hear from the city schools and get a job doing what I'm really interested in??

Where do I go????


Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Started

I guess first I should explain why I want to be a teacher. Teaching was not my first career choice. To be fair my first career choice was probably to become a Pediatric Oncologist when I was about 12 or 13 years old. By the time I was graduating from High school I had settled on owning my own Mass Media Marketing Firm, basically I wanted Holly Hunter's job in "What Women Want", but I wanted to own the place...well, life interrupted me and I eventually found my way to nursing. Which I loved!

I was a great nurse. I cared about my patients, I loved my work and I was darn good at taking darn good care of them. However, when you added the demands of nursing to the demands of real life, kids, a husband, pets, a house, finishing school, etc. Well, it was a recipe for disaster and I ultimately decided to leave nursing and quickly finished my Bachelors in Sociology.

Not many people know what Sociology is...

It's probably not what you think it is...the simple answer is that it is the study of groups. big groups, small groups, you name a group, we look at it.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise, but, Sociologists with only a Bachelors, don't make much money....


Back to school I went to get my Masters in Sociology...apparently my motto is "when in doubt, go to school!"

So, last summer I found myself a year away from completing my Masters and no good plan for an income in sight.

A friend suggested that I look in to teaching, citing my love of working summer camp with the kids as reason enough to at least give it a try...

So, now, 6 months later, I have taken an education class, taken a few tests and attempted to get interviewed by our city school system, as well as being courted for a fellowship scholarship program...

So, here goes!

Class is in session!

(did I mention my dad is in the same program? at the same time!)
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