Student View

23 May

It’s been quite a busy time now that it is almost time for the regents state exams. I managed to finish the curriculum which finished with modern physics. Although I find the topic of quantum physics incredibly interesting, I found myself having a lot of trouble explaining the role of photons, hadrons and leptons in the subatomic world. It’s so difficult to teach a world that doesn’t function the way we are used to when it comes to interacting with the things around us on a daily basis. My fix to this was to pick up some books on quantum physics and read up!

Quantum

 

Though it may look like there are two of the same books for a Brief History of Time, one of them is actually A Briefer History of Time. My favorite so far is Quantum – A Guide for the Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili.

On a more interesting note, my students have been staying late after school since it’s crunch time before the regents! At the end of the day they are usually just completely drained so I let them just hang out and draw on the white board and smart board. Today’s artwork was a picture of me, in my classroom.

period 3 art

It’s funny to see how my students view me. My favorite part about the whole drawing is how I am saying “Use your reference tables” For those who are unfamiliar with the NYC regents, students get a 6 page reference table with all the equations they need for physics.   I guess I refer them back to it quite a lot. I would have made it an all caps rage though, since I am usually screaming it out at the top of my lungs!

There are only….
33 days left to the end of the school year
21 days until all my students take their regents exams
15 teaching days

First year as a teacher is almost complete. Then….SUMMER VACATION!!!!

Bikes, Beaches and Bruises

21 Apr

I have had quite the adventurous weekend. This Saturday I volunteered to help clean up one of the beach parks in the Far Rockaways that was destroyed after Hurricane Sandy. To make this an even more adventurous day, we decided to ride our bikes from my place. According to google, the ride would be about 14.8 miles which is a distance I had never gone on my vintage 60’s, 40 pound, 3-speed cruiser bike before. But I was up for the challenge!

Here is a map of roughly the route from my place to the beach:

far rockaway bike ride

It was a mostly flat ride and the weather was perfect so it couldn’t have been a more pleasant ride. It was incredible to see the beach right next to us with a backdrop of the NYC skyscrapers in the distance!

Bikes on the Cross Bay

Bikes on the Cross Bay

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Beaches and Buildings

Beaches and Buildings

After a smooth 15 mile ride we reached Beach 30 where we were handed gloves, a broom and a shovel and we got right to work! We had to clean up sand that was covering the park and trees. After a lower body work out on the bike, it was time to get some upper strength going!!

So excited to shovel!

So excited to shovel!

Before heading back toward the mainland, we decided to check out a bit of the surrounding area of Rockaway as well as find a place to refuel after a day of physical activity. Unfortunately, this was when a totally awesome day turned a bit scary. We were riding down Rockaway Blvd checking out the town while looking for a spot to eat when all of a sudden a car door in front of me opened. Since there was a bus passing by on my left, I was closer than usual to the parked cars to avoid being too close to the bus. And then one of my biggest biking fears began to unfold. Before I knew it, I had hit the car door and began losing control of my bike. Somehow I managed to steer a bit away from the bus but completely lost control of the bike and fell, bike and all. I ended up on the ground with my bike on top of me. I don’t know how the Green Monster and I managed to escape with minor scrapes but I was in complete shock. The owner of the car came rushing out to see if I was ok but I could only scream at him to leave me alone and be more careful when he opens his door next time.

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Fresh Wound

 

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Cleaned up – looks like Wolverine got a hold of me

After some brief sobbing and sitting, I managed to get back on my bike for the 15 mile ride home we had ahead of us.

All in all it was an awesome day, despite the scary car door. It’s a risk every time we get on a bike but I was happy not to have been riding alone when it happened.

 

Sound and Fire

13 Apr

It’s been quite a while since my last post – being a teacher has consumed every free moment I might have. But I can’t complain, I am really loving it.

Spring break was a few weeks ago and before leaving for spring break I assigned a hefty amount of HW to my students. I told them the reason I give them so much work is because I want them truly practice and understand physics. I finished the argument by telling them that the amount of HW I assigned to them was directly proportional to how much I loved them! After class, I notice the following on my white board:

IMG_2192I guess my students disagree with my HW vs. logic, but I was ecstatic to see that they used correct mathematical language to express themselves! Teacher win!!!

This past week I started teaching the Unit on Waves in my physics class. We started with the basics of wave characteristics talking about thunder and lightning and explaining why even though its the same event, we hear and see these at different times (speed of light wave > speed of sound wave). Then we talked about the different types and parts of wave. Finally at the end of the week we derived the wave speed equation from the original equation of speed we had learned in the mechanics unit, v= d/t.

This week I am starting off with one of my favorite demonstrations, the Ruben’s Tube. Unfortunately I did not have time to build my own Ruben’s Tube but there are a bunch of cool videos all over the internet which show was this device does. I will definitely spend time this summer building my own Ruben’s Tube for next year.

The most basic description of what a Ruben’s Tube does is that it allows you to visualize sound. Sound travels in waves, compression waves specifically so this is a perfect demonstration for the waves unit.

Here is a very basic video of a functioning Ruben’s Tube with a wonderful explanation:

And here is a video combining two things I love – physics and dubstep

Lies you will be told

27 Mar

Being on spring break I have had more time to read. This really spoke to me. Enjoy.

Emotional Creature

Here’s what you will be told:
Find a man
Seek protection
The world is scary
Don’t go out
You are weak
Don’t care so much
They’re only animals
Don’t be so intense
Don’t cry so much
You can’t trust anyone
Don’t talk to strangers
People will take advantage of you
Close your legs
Girls aren’t good with:
Numbers
Facts
Making difficult decisions
Lifting things
Putting things together
International news
Flying planes
Being in charge.
If he rapes you, surrender,
You will get killed trying to defend yourself
Don’t travel alone
You are nothing without a man
Don’t make the first move,
Wait for him to notice you
Don’t be too loud
Follow the crowd
Obey the laws
Don’t know too much
Tone it down
Find someone rich
It’s how you look that matters,
Not what you think.

Here’s What I’m Telling You:
Everyone’s making everything up
There is no one in charge except for those
Who pretend to be
No one is coming
No one is going to
Rescue you
Mind-read your needs
Know your body better than you

Always fight back
Ask for it
Say you want it
Cherish your solitude
Take trains by yourself to places
You have never been
Sleep out under the stars
Learn how to drive a stick shift
Go so far away that you stop being afraid of
Not coming back
Say no when you don’t want to do something
Say yes if your instincts are strong
Even if everyone around you disagrees
Decide whether you want to be liked or admired
Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out
What you’re doing here
Believe in kissing
Fight for tenderness
Care as much as you do
Cry as much as you want
Insist the world be theater
And love the drama
Take your time
Move as fast as you do
As long as it’s your speed.

Ask yourself these questions:
Why am I whispering when I have something to say?
Why am I adding a question mark at the end
Of all my sentences?
Why am I apologizing every time I express my needs?
Why am I hunching over?
Starving myself when I love food?
Pretending it doesn’t mean that much to me?
Hurting myself when I mean to scream?
Why am I waiting
Whining
Pining
Fitting in?
You know the truth:
Sometimes it does hurt that much
Your mother wanted more than that
It’s easier to be mean than smart
But that isn’t who you are.”

Eve Ensler

Drop the (pet) bass

18 Mar

Because blogging about my students work is more fun than planning, here is a post dedicated to my students’ awesome work

I am currently taking a class about teaching culturally diverse and English language learning students. In the class our professor had us create tri-fold books to summarize a paper we read for HW. I decided to take this idea and have my students make a tri-fold in my physics class. The task was this…

Pick a topic about physics
Pick three equations in that topic
Make a table listing the names of the variables in the equation and their related units
Come up with your own problem which would be solved using the equation (1 problem for each equation)
Solve said problem showing all work, including substitution with units

Well, needless to say I had a blast reading the problems my students came up with. Granted some of them just used problems from the old HW assignments but some got incredibly creative. This is my favorite. I must have laughed for 10 minutes straight after reading this….

Skrillex drop the (pet) bass

Skrillex drop the (pet) bass

So many awesome things about this one. The empire state is just about 433 meters tall, the artwork is incredible and well the humor is just amazing. I need to assign more creative projects to these kids.

Here are a few more projects I enjoyed very much

IMG_2059

Awesome artwork and incredibly thoughtful problems

And I happen to make a few appearances in some of the work….

IMG_2061

Hmmm, losing glasses and getting hit by apples?!?!

IMG_2062

Everyone knows I love my heels

 

IMG_2060

My kids know me so well!! Of course we had a dance off haha

The fun never ends while being a teacher!

Parent Teacher Conference

17 Mar

This past week was parent teacher conference (PTC) at my school! I always look forward to this night so I can congratulate the parents whose kids are awesome students and have serious discussions with those parents of my struggling students.

Since I was busy running around getting things set up for PTC I asked some of my students to write “Welcome Parents” on my smartboard. They began using the most brightly colored and obnoxious fonts so I asked them to please write it in a more serious font. This was the final product….

IMG_2049I guess I had that coming to me and I got a good laugh out of it. Luckily I had enough time to change it before parents came in.

Conferences with parents took place Thursday evening and Friday afternoon so Friday the students had a half day. I had a wonderful time talking to all the parents. One of my students parents gave me a huge hug and said to me “Our son talks about you all the time at home. Thank you for everything you have done. You are so beautiful and smart.” How can my heart not be filled with warmth after that?   Another one of my students told her mother I was her favorite teacher ever because I was so serious and she likes serious teachers.

Listening to the parents talk about how their sons/daughters feel about my class and how they talk about me at home all the time really makes all the effort, hard work and sleepless nights worth every single second. Although I am their teacher, they are teaching me so much too.

Friday I let my students use the smartboard before leaving school for the day. I should have learned my lesson from the day before but this was the result after my students left my classroom.

IMG_2058

 

Every now and then I get sad at the thought of having a new batch of students next year. Hopefully they will be just as wonderful as my current students.

 

Fun with Electrostatics!

10 Mar

A couple of weeks ago I started the unit on electricity and magnetism in my physics classes. I was really nervous about teaching this unit more than all the others because, although we are all familiar with electricity, the phenomenons behind what makes electricity possible are invisible to the naked eye. In a way, electricity just seems like magic.

Part of the unit involves talking about electroscopes. An electroscope is a device that detects any kind of charge. When I say charge, I am referring to an object that has gained or lost electrons, because in order to become charged (positive or negative) electrons must be moved. The most common example that we are used to when it comes to gaining some electrons, is sliding our sock covered feet on a carpeted floor. The shock we feel after touching a metal door knob is electrons jumping from our bodies to the door knob and eventually to ground.

Here is a picture of a typical electroscope:

electroscope

It is made of two metal leaves attached to a metal ball. These leaves are isolated from air currents, so that any movement is the result of electric charges and not random air fluctuations. If you touch an electroscope with a negatively-charged object, the electrons will flow down into the leaves, where they will accumulate on the leaf edges. This behavior is due to their repulsive nature, and the accumulation on the edges actually is how they are able to experience the least amount of repulsive force. The repulsive force experienced by the leaves will cause them to move apart. When the electroscope is grounded, the leaves will fall together again.

In class I used a balloon and my hair to move some electrons from my hair to the balloon. When I brought the balloon close to the top of the electroscope, the leaves at the bottom repelled. BAM…PHYSICS!

Since my students have been begging me for extra credit since the second day of school, I though this would be a great opportunity to stock up on supplies for my lab. You want extra credit in my class? You build something! So, I had m students make electroscopes for a HW pass or 5 points on any exam grade. I had about 15 students make electroscopes, and they all worked!

Electroscopes

The collection of electroscopes on display under my smartboard in the front of the class

 

Electroscopes

electroscopes

 

Electroscopes

I am so incredibly proud of my students who made some awesome electrscopes. It’s obvious the all used the same two youtube videos but they did it!!! I will be using these for labs I do in future years of teaching physics! Saved myself and my school a ton of money on lab supplies while simultaneously enriching my students learning experience outside my classroom =)

I will update this post tomorrow with a video of the electroscope working!

[jwplayer mediaid=”2327″]

 

Wanderer

25 Feb

I have been listening to strictly 60’s oldies lately. I can’t seem to get over the song The Wanderer by Dion. I just love the lyrics because I’ve often felt like a wanderer not having lived in any single place for more than 5 years. I think I love this part of the song the most which I have modified to fit me signing it 🙂

I’m the type of gal that likes to roam around
I’m never in one place, I roam from town to town
And when I find myself fallin’ for some guy
I hop right into that car of mine and ride around the world
Cause I’m the wanderer
Yeah, the wanderer
I roam around, around, around

http://youtu.be/hVzU–Qp5fE

[audio:http://sixties60s.com/1962/radio/The%20Wanderer.mp3|titles= The Wanderer|artists= Dion]

Student Work

19 Feb

I recently started teaching a college level AutoCAD class at my school as part of a College Now program. One of the first in class assignments I had students work on was to come up with a procedure they believed was necessary to make an iPhone beginning with concept to having the iPhone in my hand. I got some interesting work but there was definitely one that stood out.

iphone 5 process

I have  a feeling I am going to love teaching this class.

 

Dirty Dubstep Motivation

11 Feb

I need a serious dose of motivation to get through this week after working almost all weekend. Prepping for 3 different classes and taking two grad classes is no joke. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up but we’ll see.

I don’t think I could have gotten through the weekend of planning without this dirty mix playing in the background while I graded papers and planned like crazy! Skip over the first 45 seconds of talking and enjoy the ridiculous ripping beats and bass dropsss. Womp woommppp wommppp woooommmpppp!!

Pop pop baang…..

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/76494958″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Oh, and lets not forget the Zed’s Dead snowstorm mix that got me through the “blizzard”

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/78426155″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

 

Speaking of grading and blizzards, here are two pictures. The first one is of the so called blizzard Nemo. Which seemed more like a dusting than a blizzard here in NYC.

nemo

 

And as usual, my cats were helping me do some work this weekend. Though I am not sure how much of a help Boosie was. Take a look for yourself….

cat grading