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Favorite Teacher

14 Jan

Last week I administered the first part of the State Exam to my one and only Earth Science class. This part is called the practical component where students are required to complete three tasks in an allotted time of nine minutes each. The three tasks are as follows:

1) Draw the elliptical orbit of an asteroid that orbits the sun given the foci locations
2) Identify two types of rocks and one mineral
3) Find the epicenter of an earthquake given the distances of two cities and the arrival  time between P-wave and S-waves at a third city.

I spent the week drilling these three things in class before the practical. My students seemed somewhat confident after the fact and I am hoping they all did well. Upon collecting their exam answer booklets I saw the following:

Favorite Teacher

 Needless to say I teared up and my heart filled with warmth. It’s things like this that make all the late nights, early mornings, long commute, stressful days, work filled weekends totally worth it.

Honorary Member

13 Jan

Being a high school teacher, I have an opportunity to participate in school events and clubs. After chaperoning the senior trip, I somehow became an honorary member of the Student Honor Society.

I was so excited when a few of the Honor’s students came into my classroom and delivered this to me on Friday.

Arista Honorary Member

Property of Hillcrest High School 2013!!!



Teacher Sanity

8 Jan

As a first year teacher I often find myself spending 10 hours a day at my school only to come home and spend the rest of the evening planning. I filled out a survey from my school recently asking me how many hours a week I spend on school tasks between teaching and planning and I was shocked to answer 80+ hours a week. I never understood how someone could work more than their usual 40 hours at a job. Now I get it. The more time I spend perfecting my lessons, the more my students benefit and the more I spread the knowledge of physics around the world.

Let me tell you, there is no feeling similar to having a student come after school for help and seeing them leave having learned and accomplished so much. Most importantly though is seeing them leave with a huge smile on their face because they overcame a huge obstacle. It truly warms my heart and allows me to continue these crazy hours.

I have managed to work on a pretty good stress relieving system. I find myself every night spending time dancing alone in my room. I find pure joy and happiness as I just let my hair down while singing and dancing to some very rhythmic songs. Here is my top 4 list of songs I jam to post a night of heavy planning – in no particular order.

Ms. Chabebe’s Post-Planning Dance Mix
(if only my students knew, muahahaha!!)

1.) Shania Twain – Feel like a Woman

[audio:|titles= Man! I feel like a Woman|artists= Shania Twain]

2.) Robyn – Dancing on my Own

[audio:|titles= Dancing on my Own|artists= Robyn]

3.) Kumbia Queers – El Veraneao

[bandcamp album=3174756114  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]


4.) Danza Kuduro by Don Omar Ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro

[audio:|titles= Danza Kuduro|artists= Don Omar ft. Lucenzo]

These lyrics from the previous song just summarize so well my need to dance. Sorry to those non Spanish speakers

Quien puede domar la fuerza del mar que se mete por tus venas.
Lo caliente del sol que se te metió y no te deja quieta nena.
Quien puede parar eso que al bailar descontrola tus caderas,
Y ese fuego que quema por dentro
Y lento te convierte en fiera.
Con las manos arriba, cintura sola, da media vuelta

Student Work

30 Dec

I have been away from school now and though I am enjoying te time off a whole lot I do miss my students. Just before leaving for break one of my students drew up a fun cartoon on my smartboard.

He called it, Bob the bodybuilder

bob the bodybulder


Since it’s almost new years I decided to get festive!

2013 nails

Fun Times in High School

27 Dec

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to go on the senior class trip for the high school I teach at. We went up to a place called pine grove dude ranch and in short, I had a ton of fun despite having to be a responsible adult on the trip. I had the opportunity to go paintballing with a group of students. It was me and one other chaperon, Ms. Tellez who is also new in the science department at my school and teaches living environment.



After single handedly capturing the flag for my team during the first game, I became the main target for the rest of the game. Let me tell you, getting shot at with paintballs that refuse to explode hurts like crazy. But it was fun nonetheless.

Here is a picture of all the chaperons. I think the adults on the trip had just as much fun as the students =)



Smart girl problems

23 Dec

One of my fellow science teachers sent me the following picture a few days ago. Somehow I have no contradicting argument since all evidence I have gathered seems to prove the point made. See for yourself.


And on the topic of cats, here are the kitties that live with me!!





Physics Level

12 Dec

One of my students brought the following picture for me today:

Although he did not assemble the featured contraption, I am still proudly displaying it on my science corner board because it’s nice to know they think about physics when they lurk and troll on the internet. I love teaching and especially love teaching physics =)

physics level

Mi Casa

11 Dec

So I am teaching vector addition in preparation for finding vector components when solving projectile motion problems to my physics students. I am especially nervous about this topic because I teach freshman, which for the most part are concurrently taking algebra at the moment. That means they have never taken trig or heard of sine, cosine or tangent of an angle. Actually – they have never heard the term theta. Hence why I woke up from a nightmare not too long ago where I was teaching finding vector components and had bombed the whole lesson.

Needless to say I have started out very basic to make sure my kids follow with all the vector math. For HW the first night I had them draw a scaled diagram that showed the displacement from my house (Ms. Chabebe’s house) to Hillcrest High School given a certain magnitude and direction.

I found some of my student’s work quite entertaining.

Trailer Park

Fishing for brownie points


Massive upgrade from the trailer – suburban home, front yard with giant driveway, two car garage with a sweet car, and even a dog frolicking in the yard!

Lesson Learned: I need to start assigning more HW that will be entertaining to grade

The Gorilla Experiment

10 Dec

As I mentioned in a previous post, I started watching the Big Bang Theory and reward myself after a day of teaching and planning with an episode here and there.  I still don’t know how I didn’t get into this show sooner. The latest episode I watched pretty much summed up my feelings/frustrations as a physics teacher in a humorous way.

It’s a bit long at 9 minutes but worth the watch since I took the time to post it in a way that would not be blocked. The best part starts at the 2 minute mark.

[jwplayer mediaid=”2104″]

This interaction typically happens at least once a day. I have replaced Sheldon and Penny’s part with myself and a student.

Me: Where’s your notebook?
Student: Uuum, I don’t have one
Me: How are you going to take notes without a notebook?
Student: I have to take notes?
Me: How else are you going to study for the test?
Student: There’s going to be a test?
Me: Testsssssss



Egg Drop!

28 Nov

Today in my 1st period class we did the classic egg drop project. We talked about free fall last week so I figured it would a good time to tie this in. Not to mention that I needed a project for them to work on for Thanksgiving break and thought this would be a fun to do that. It was a lot of fun and interesting to see the different ideas my students  came up with.

The way the drops worked was the following:

Each team gets 3 drops. First from 15 feet above ground. If the egg survives you move to the next round which is a drop from the balcony. If the egg survives you can go to the bonus round which involves me launching the container with the egg as hard and violently as I possibly can. Following are a few pictures of some of the final designs. The last picture was one of my favorites though incredibly messy when inspecting the egg for cracks.

Ballon Covered Box with Cotton Balls Inside – Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony

Egg suspended by rubber bands inside a box – Did not survive 15 foot drop

Double cone shaped exterior with inflated latex gloves and an orange peel on the inside – Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony

Sponge bed inside plastic tupperware Survived 15 foot drop but not balcony drop


Sponge bed inside metal case – Did not survive 15 foot drop

Cotton balls and padding inside swiffer box – Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony

Sponge bed inside plastic case – Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony

Shoe box with scarves – Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony

Non Newtonian fluid (cornstarch and water) inside cup inside shoe box Survived mighty throw from auditorium balcony