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Spring Break Fun!!!

4 May

Hello again to my blog! I have been actively avoiding updating my blog for several reasons. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I am too busy trying to plan lessons that will make students fall in love with physics

2. I am too busy trying to maintain my 4.0 GPA in grad school

3. I am too busy tying to train for my second half marathon

4. Because some of my students like to stalk me on the internet

In any case, I am currently trying to take a break from working on my massive grad school assignment so what a better time to update.

The good news is that the school year is almost over and I somehow have almost survived another year of teaching and grad school. A few weeks ago I went away to Ecuador for spring break. It was the first time I had been back since I went for my best friend’s wedding in December of 2011. As usual I tried to do as many touristy things in my home country as I could!

Tequila my old girl <3

Tequila my old girl <3[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2515" align="aligncenter" width="225"]My friend Sergio's daughter, Monica Charlotte <3 <3!! My friend Sergio’s daughter, Monica Charlotte <3 <3!![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2516" align="aligncenter" width="300"]My cousin's daughter Valentina <3 My cousin’s daughter Valentina <3[/caption][caption id="attachment_2517" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Playas Ecuador, fun, sun, hammocks and exotic fruits Playas Ecuador, fun, sun, hammocks and exotic fruits

Fun in high altitude in Alausi, Ecador at the Nariz del Diablo (Nose of the Devil!)

Fun in high altitude in Alausi, Ecador at the Nariz del Diablo (Nose of the Devil!)

Nariz del Diablo

Nariz del Diablo

More high altitude adventures. Chimorazo, Ecuador

More high altitude adventures. Chimorazo, Ecuador


The highest I have ever been, 5100m or 16,700ft. Chimborazo in the background

The highest I have ever been, 5100m or 16,700ft. Chimborazo in the background

Finished off my trip with an excellent beach adventure

Finished off my trip with an excellent beach adventure

Poscast Interview!

13 Mar

I have been so lucky to have gotten so involved in so many different conversations about women in the STEM fields. I was recently found via twitter thanks to the “rocket scientist” description of myself. The Teach for America Podscast @BlankShowRadio on twitter reached out to me not too long ago to ask me the same question everyone is always interested in….why did I leave my awesome engineering job in the space systems industry to become an under paid and under appreciated teacher?!?!?!



Hear my response to this question and a few more by pressing play on the player below. Since it is a podcast interview there is only sound and no visual. You can also listen by clicking the link directly below.

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Episode 101 – Who Runs the Future of STEM? Girls!


On a completely different note, I have been listening to the following song non-stop. It’s just so catchy and I am killing it with the dance moves. I have a burning desire to do this same dance in a grocery store just like her.

Sara Bareilles – Gonna Get over You



20 Oct

Holy moly, I can’t believe it. I got my blog back!!!! Long story short, I forgot to pay my domain bill and lost it, couldn’t buy it back right away due to some technicality where it had to be available for purchase elsewhere for 45 days, waited it out and now here we are! So lets get to the updates!!

Before the end of the summer I went to a whole bunch of weddings including being a bridesmaid in my friend Amy’s wedding!

Amy's Wedding!!!

Amy’s Wedding!!!

Kristen, Amy, me and Steph

Kristen, Amy, me and Steph


Caroline and Paul's Wedding!

Caroline and Paul’s Wedding!

Wedding Shenanigans

Wedding Shenanigans


Me with the giants: Ben, Amy me and Kristen

Me with the giants: Ben, Amy me and Kristen

After all the wedding shenanigan fun, I had to say good bye to the summer and hello to a new school year. I was terrified to say the least of having to do it all over again. What if I do worse than last year? What if the kids aren’t as wonderful? What if grad school is more exhausting? What if I can’t get used to my new classroom? What if……..

Well, despite all my worries, things are moving along and going well so far. My schedule is pretty hectic since I teach 3 classes in a row at the end of the day, I have grad school 3 nights a week and I still spend a lot of time planning. The kids are wonderful and my students from last year still visit so I’ve felt very lucky. We were recently tasked with having to plaster our bulletin boards with student work and an obnoxious amount of color. After the most stressful 2 days I managed to throw the most color intense bulletin boards ever. I was one of the few teachers who had an acceptable board according to our principle. I guess I lucked out when only being able to find supplies in all mismatching colors!

Bulletin Boards

Bulletin Boards

In other more serious news, my roommate Ari Spool is running for Mayor of New York City!! She is the smartest person I have ever met. She has an answer to ALL of my questions no matter what the topic. She was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Write-In Brings ‘the Ruckus’Ari Spool knew her New York mayoral campaign was making headway when her Klout score, a measure of social-media influence, rocketed. Her marquee endorsement is John Lurie, the artist and founder of the Lounge Lizards jazz ensemble. Her centerpiece policy is mandating lilac uniforms for the police department.

Embedly Powered

via Wsj


Check out her awesome website, built by no other than my awesomely talented brother


Summer so Far

7 Aug

One of the perks of being a teacher is that after working insanely hard from September – June, I get the months of July and August off. Although I haven’t had to teach a class all summer, I have been in graduate school taking two classes as well as planning an getting ready for the next school year. But lets not talk about the less exciting things I have done this summer and focus instead of the fun things I have gotten to do!

The summer started off with an awesome journey to Michigan via Chicago to spend 4 days camping at Electric Forest. I went with a group of seven other friends and we spent 4 awesome days listening to awesome music and camping. Here are just a few of the pictures we took.

Eforest 2013


After the four days I spent one final day in Chicago before flying home.

With all my luggage at The Bean

With all my luggage at The Bean

Looking at Chicago from 96 floors up

Looking at Chicago from 96 floors up


Shortly after returning from that trip it was the fourth of July and I headed to the Jersey Shore with some friends. Spent four awesome days relaxing in the sun, in the pool and at the beach.

Fun in the Sun!

Fun in the Sun!


Not all was fun and games. I spent a lot of time doing school work and taking exams while all this was happening. I even completed an online exam on my phone while floating in the pool one afternoon.

A few weeks after that I took a trip to Montreal for my friend Amy’s bachelorette party. We spend 4 awesome days hanging out in one of my favorite cities, eating smoked meat at Schwartz, hanging out late night at the Saint Suplice, riding bikes 20 miles along Canal Lachine, eating delicious crepes, walking around Mount Royal watching the drum circle. hanging out on the Parc John Drapeau on St. Helen’s Island, eating delicious foie grias and pigs foot at Au Pie Du Cachon and walking around old town eating poutine.

Bikes, Notre Dame and Crepes

Bikes, Notre Dame and Crepes

From clockwise from top left of long picture: Kristen, me, Amy, Bassey and Stephanie

Clockwise from top left of long picture: Kristen, me, Amy, Bassey and Stephanie


And finally, the last adventure I have had until now was going out boating for the day with my old engineering design co-workers from Hamilton Sundstrand . We departed from  Old Lyme beach in CT and ended up at Napatree Beach in Rhode Island.

Beach Collage 2

Beach Collage 1


Unfortunately the summer is almost over and I just finished my last graduate class of the summer. I have a few weeks to get myself organized for the beginning of the next school year and then the craziness starts all over again, but with a new batch of kids! I’ll have to admit I am going to miss my old classes and will be lucky if this year I have students that are as awesome as they were.

Rocket Launching

24 Jun

I am happy to announce that I have practically survived my first year as a teacher. My students did better than expected on the physics regents exam and I am so proud of them for working so hard, they really made this an incredible first year for me! Aside from teaching, I have been taking graduate classes towards an education masters as well. I will hopefully be done with this degree by this time next year. However, I am enjoying the classes I am taking and had an awesome final project for my first summer session class that just ended.

My professor wanted us to create something that would be useful for us in our next year of teaching. After much debate and some  exceptionally boring ideas, he challenged me to build a bottle rocket launcher. So a week later and several trips to home depot, I present to you a very short compilation of what I have created

The best part of this first video is when I run in front of the camera post launch screaming “I lost my shoe!!!”

[jwplayer mediaid=”2408″]

This next one is a failed launch with my Assisstant Principal almost getting hit in the face with the launcher. Remember kids, safety first!

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Final launch where some students got interested in helping out!

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Thanks to the cameraman Ms. Monahan for some awesome commentary!

Here is a picture of the assembled rocket launcher
PVC Launcher

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!



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.


Fresh Wound



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

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


Awesome artwork and incredibly thoughtful problems

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


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


Everyone knows I love my heels



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.



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.