"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Monday, April 19, 2010

i wanna be your otter


from Wikipedia [emphasis added]:
"To keep from drifting apart, sea otters may sleep HOLDING PAWS. Note the high buoyancy of the animals' bodies."


and what did my partner have to say about that?

"wha? they just float there? no wonder they're endangered. they're FLOATING MEAT. [shakes head] evolution failed them."

i feel like i hardly knew you.

did you know that otters spend most of their time floating around in the water grooming their fur? they comb it with their paws and BLOW AIR INTO IT! they catch fish with their paws! (agile! dexterous!) and they possess pockets for keeping those fish for later!
and a group of otters is called a raft! (i want to float around in the ocean suspended in water only by a bunch of bustling otter bodies, holding their paws and nuzzling my face into their clean furry bodies...)

also: the only reason otters are endangered is because humans once hunted them for their furs. what heartless beasts are we?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"The Jungians say that we hate people because they resemble bad parts of us that we aren’t willing to own up to, yet; we love people because they resemble good parts of us that we’re not confident enough to recognize in ourselves. I’m a pretty firm believer in that theory, myself."

––from this difficult article on Tina Fey, and how she is "not really" a feminist. now, i don't care so much for the critique of Ms. Fey, but this snippet was worth bookmarking. i've always believed in this theory but struggled to articulate it, and now it turns out it's based in Jungian psychoanalytic theory! i tell you, this universe is just one big Over Soul and we are all connected. you, me, Carl Jung, Ralph Emerson, and yes, even Ms. Tina Fey.

UPDATE: the quote, as it turns out, goes like this: "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." - Carl Jung

industrial camouflage!

found this mind-blowingly fascinating article about industrial camouflage, a defensive method employed during World War II to disguise potential targets from enemy gunfire. industrial camouflage involved a number of different tactics, such as shrouding a steel plant in smoke, painting the gold dome of a state capital building gray, and the most elaborate of these, cityscape invisibility cloaks! using plywood and chicken wire, military defense built 3D models of suburban neighborhoods that sat on top of existing buildings.



setting up:

on the street:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

and the results are in...

i gave my students a survey in-class today about School Experience. it had questions about the school, experiences with adults on campus, safety, and asked them questions about their individual classes as well.

the surveys were anonymous of course, and i gave students room to write additional comments to me on the back.

i received extremely positive reviews, which was surprising and made me wonder if my students thought i might punish them for giving me the "wrong" answers. i feel like i've been a good teacher, but i couldn't believe i've been *this* good.

the results showed that in both math and science, 90% of my students strongly agreed that "[Ms. Lee] believes I can do well." 10% of them agreed. 85% of my students strongly agreed that "[Ms. Lee] cares about me." 15% agreed. my students also 100% agreed or strongly agreed that they feel safe in my classroom, while less than 20% could say that about their neighborhood or the school as a whole.

i also had two students write me notes at the end of their surveys:
"Ms. Lee I want you to know that I like your class. And I don't worry about not getting it when you are teaching me because I just catch on to what the whole class is learning about."
"Ms. Lee I want you to know that your class is really fun and interesting. I know and I learned a lot in your awesome class. - anonymous"
that's pretty awesome, right?!

this got me excited, so i made an end of year ONLINE survey. i'm hoping that with the online survey i can ask more detailed questions, specifically about my class, and compile the results to inform my teaching practice, especially if i decide to continue next year.

here's a draft of questions i plan on asking:
4. ms. lee makes me feel welcome in class (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree)
5. ms. lee makes me feel safe
6. ms. lee gives me what i need in class
7. ms. lee helps me be the best learner i can be
8. ms. lee helps me with my math when i need it
9. ms. lee understands me
10. ms. lee tries to understand me (all of the time, most of the time, some of the time, not very often, never)
11. ms. lee makes learning math fun
12. ms. lee makes learning math easy
13. i feel ready for 7th grade because of what ms. lee has taught me
14. ms. lee's math class is the best class i've ever taken
15. ms. lee cares about me
16. ms. lee treats me with respect
17. ms. lee treats me and other students fairly
18. i feel ms. lee challenged me to be the best i could be
19. i was a good student in ms. lee's class
20. because of taking ms. lee's class, i feel i have gotten better in math
21. if you could make one change to the class what would it be
22. if you could keep one thing the same what would it be
23. do you have anything you want to say to ms. lee or anything you want her to know?

what else should i ask?!

Monday, April 12, 2010


i do a pretty good job keeping a straight face, most of the time, even when encountered with the most bizarre and hilarious of irrational behaviors. what can i say, it's a skill you pick up quickly when teaching 6th graders. (in fact, i think it should be on a long list of criteria for people entering the teaching profession. following closely after charisma and passion.)

still, my kids find ways of surprising me. and in these certain moments, when my students surprise me with their kid-ness, i find it difficult to be cross and furrow my brow at them, and have to instead give in to chuckling a little bit, smiling largely, and trying to move past it as quickly as i can. it's fun for my kids to see Ms. Lee crack a smile or laugh along with them at something silly. i guess that they, and i, can forget that i'm human, so these little moments of honesty are welcome examples of our humility, which i think is why my students and i have felt so comfortable together and have managed to accomplish so much in our shared space.

three recent instances of what i'm talking about:
1) my student Bryan (hyperactive kid with a tendency to blurt out inappropriate things, get out of his seat, make rodent-like faces at my aide to freak her out, and make flatulent sounds any time anyone bends over to get something) comes to class (where we have a black and white uniform policy) wearing this shirt:

2) my two smallest 7th graders Manuel and Luis are in my advisory class, but instead of quietly journaling, are exchanging sk8er pics they printed off a printer in some other class. this was delightfully endearing because of how small they are, and also how sweet of a gesture it seemed to be between the two friends (in their journals every week, they write to me about seeing each other over the weekend and spending saturday afternoons at the skate park). it was really cute watching these two little boys sharing a hobby with each other, even when they were supposed to be doing work in class.

3) my students are getting into Lady Gaga. coincidentally, so am i. every once in a while, one of my students will start singing the opening line to "Bad Romance," which amazingly has only proven to be amusing and strangely comforting (to know that we share some point of pop cultural coincidence) and has yet to be unnerving and annoying (YET!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

what goes around...

a clever anti-war campaign in nyc.


Thursday, April 08, 2010


right after publishing my last post, blogger posted this little ad, which was just interesting enough to slip past my threshold of awareness (i think it was the words book and blog together that caught my eye).

hold the phone! i can turn my blog into a book!? this is what i've always wanted!! how exciting! i don't particularly like having some website do it for me from a drop-down list of generic templates, but still, that the possibility exists is pretty winning. i had always thought that when i got around to making the blog into a book, it would be more of a zine and involve hundreds of photocopies of text glued to larger pages with drawings and sketches in the margins, handbound together to be mailed out as gifts.

funny though, considering i've already got instant publishing. shucks, blogger, you so good to me!

carrot head

in the last day, i have written 2 papers, 1 IEP, 2 lesson plans, and 1 reflection on teaching (forthcoming in a post, stay tuned!)

so today feels pretty lax in comparison. as a result, this is what i did in the half hour before i left work today. 

i forgot Macs have this program called Comic Life that can turn pictures into comic strips, which is extremely fun to play with, but produces disappointingly boring comics. 

if only i had a troupe of wacky friends to dress up in brightly colored costumes and voluminous up-dos and strike dramatic poses and make wildly expressive faces so we could maximize the potential of this program to make delightful art.

alas. another project for the summer months.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

a wish for the new millenium

it's 2010, the "future." where's my flying car? my space suit? why haven't we colonized Mars yet?

all i want for my futuristic present is for someone to invent a time machine so i can travel back to the 1970s/80s and watch a young Bruce Springsteen sing "I'm On Fire" in an intimate low-lit concert venue and not feel guilty or self-conscious about squealing like a teenage girl.

aw heck. i don't need a time machine to do that!