Monday, August 31, 2009


On my recent trip to the Smithsonian, I saw that Packemin HS is not the only one around that does Hawaiian shirts. Harry Truman gave the above shirt to a friend who ridiculed him for wearing it on vacation.

Hmm,... Packemin and the presidency.

(I hope Obama does not get his way here. I don't care for his education ideas very much. I didn't see him wearing any of those shirts on his recent vacation. Maybe that is a good sign.)

This Guy Is Not Sitting On His Ass Doing Nothing

When we elected a new CL, we got a good one, a really good one. (I also have high hopes for the principal that listens to him.)

I just got the following e-mail and have to share it with all.

Hi POd,

I spoke to the principal today and we are making some changes. First of all, there are groups 1 and 2. The time when teachers are not dealing with groups time will be devoted to lesson planning.

Also, the 90-minute dept.meeting/ class prep will become 30 minutes meeting and 60 minutes classroom prep/ teacher time. The breakfast is optional but you really have to be there at 8 AM. A note should go out with the corrections today or tomorrow.

So don't think I just sit on my ass all day. Even though that's what I'm doing right now.


A Pick Me Up

When schedules and PD get me down, I always find one of these in the mail.

This kid got a 5 on the AP exam.

Hi Ms. POd! This is jack, today is my first day of class, and I just came back from my morning 8:00AM calculus class, my professor is somebody like Mr. Punman, he is very funny, and calculus obsessed, haha.
I have to say, the stuff I learned in your class is so useful, everything we did today he thought we didn't learn yet, but I knew all of it, you know, the area between 2 curves using dy, he is going to do 3 curves next class I think, but it would be very simple because I took AP Calculus in Packemin with you!
I will visit once Packemin starts class, probably on a Tuesday. See you soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

DOE E-Mail Bad!

Looking for my program, I went looking in my DOE e-mail and found this instead.

Where is the prep time promised?
Why is it that programs have not been mailed out this way?


Welcome Back
Teacher time is 8:00 am to 2:50 pm.

7:30 am - 8:00 am - Breakfast for the Staff
8:00 am - 8:40 am - Auditorium-Plenary (Distribution of Packets with Student Materials)
9:00 am - 10:15 am - Group # 1
10:15 am - 11:15 am - Group # 2

11:30 am - 12:30 pm - Lunch

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Department Meetings/Classroom Setup
2:00 pm - 2:50 pm - Right to know/Chancellor Regulations

Teachers will receive the following:
Chancellors Regs. (MUST SIGN)
Teacher Handbook
Right to Know
List of resources
School Calendar
Triple A Handbook


Let the excitement begin!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boredom Sucks

I broke down and looked at ARIS. I wish I didn't.

I found out I am teaching the first term of of Integrated Algebra, the four term sequence. (Teaching AP as well gives me the top and the bottom of the school, a very varied program.) I looked at records and that is why I am depressed.

The majority of my class took the algebra regents in June and the scores ranged from 13% to 79%, with most of the grades in the 20's. I don't know why the 79% is in this group, but I will find out and try to get this poor child out as soon as school starts. Grades this low can mean only one thing--these kids know almost nothing about math.

I also clicked on some icon that gave me the standards from 2007 (I think.) There were red squares and green squares and I am really confused as to what they mean. It looks like three greens meant the kid scored a 3, but if they did, the regents grades never should have been so low. And some kids have rainbow squares so I really am clueless in this area.

Even if I figure out the codes, I still have to figure out a way to get this material across to them. ARIS is giving me no help in this area. Billions of dollars and still no way to help.

I'm going back to playing with the photos I took today. That activity is a lot less painful.

(pictured above is the Capitol Building)

Julia Child's Kitchen

I've been here before but after seeing Julie and Julia, I had to go see it again--Julia Child's kitchen.

(Sorry to bore with all these posts but I am sitting in my daughter's house, bored.)

Red Weakness

I am not a Republican and if you asked me before today if there is anything I like about Republicans I would have not been able to answer in the affirmative.

But, today I checked out the First Lady dresses at the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian and found the two pictured above, both worn by Republicans!

I'm a sucker for red anytime.

Another favorite--Dorothy's ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz. (Nothing to do with Republicans, but in the same museum)

Helping A Friend

From an outsider's view, Tiny has one of the best apartments in the city of New York. It is in a great neighborhood, she has a driveway and plenty of street parking and her living space is enormous. It is the kind of apartment most of us would die to live in.

Now, I say from an outsider's view because Tiny would not agree. She is always talking about her cheap landlord and his refusal to make repairs and modernize. Knowing Tiny as well as I do, I know that she must be speaking the truth, even if I cannot see what she is talking about.

Well, today, in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, I saw the 1950 kitchen pictured above. Except for the green stove, it is Tiny's exact kitchen.

So, Tiny show this picture to your husband. Maybe this will help give him the kick in the butt he needs to move out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

ATR Problem Revisited

Under Assault was an ATR until she won her grievance and had to be reinstated to. Her year and a half as an ATR has been wiped out and her record shows continuous service.

If the principals involved and the DOE had their way, she would be one of the teachers Klein is talking about getting rid of, one of the ones Chaz recently wrote about.

I met one of Under Assault's students on my cruise. We shared a dinner table and after a few minutes I found out that this young lady lived in a development I knew well and attended the local high school. I decided to do a little investigating and asked this high school girl if she knew Ms. Under Assault. Here is her response. I wish I had my camera going so I could publish her exact words.

Ms. Under Assault is the most amazing teacher I have ever had. She was so passionate about her subject. She taught with enthusiasm. She really knew her material. I am going to miss her so much. (This girl just graduated.)

Under Assault, like many ATRs had not been getting interviews and job offers. If she had not been reinstated, she would be facing another year as a teacher without a classroom. Her "homelessness" would have had nothing to do with her ability as a teacher or her search for a job.

There are too many ATRs like Under Assault out there. One of the ATRs I know well has gone on a ton of interviews with no success (and she has a wonderful resume and wonderful recommendations. All her ratings are S.) Something must be done to get these teachers back in the classroom where they belong.

From A Friend

Just got this in an e-mail and it was too nice not to share.

I Found It

I don't know how to use ARIS, but I do know how to use

I found my class lists, so I know what I am teaching. (Not the periods though.)

At least now I can get some stuff ready for the first day.

Thank you to the anonymous commenter who told me to check ARIS and gave me the idea of checking the other site.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Say no to mayoral control 0001

Thanks to

(Sorry Bloomberg Groupie, but this needs to be heard.)

We're Sick Of Him

Heard on last night's news:

54% of New Yorkers are sick and tired of Bloomberg's face and voice.

It's time to stop those commercials.

I didn't watch last night's debate as I know I will vote for anyone who opposes Bloomberg.

Even the Naked Cowboy is a better choice.To read a full acoount of the debate, stop by Accountable Talk. Both candidates sound great. Based on what I read, I'm leaning towards Avella, but I really have to do some more research before September 15

I Like The Idea

I'm not a fan of Banana Cream Pie, I bet the same idea would work for beer, ice cream and cheese cake. I might just give it a try.

(Sitting in Panera Bread having coffee while my house is being cleaned and enjoying the last few days of vacation)

Not Your Private Property

Living in NYC means that parking spots are often limited. But, it also means that it is legal to park your car on streets that do not say "No Parking" and your parking time is not limited unless there is a meter telling you so.

If you are lucky and own your own home in NYC, it often comes with a driveway and a garage. Houses in my neighborhood have both. Every house also has a spot in front of it but the spot does not belong to the owners of the house. The street is public and parking is open to every car.

My friend R left her car in front of one of these houses while we were cruising. When she returned, the lady of the house was quite rude. In fact, she told R that the POd's should know better than to park a car in front of her house. R is very sweet. She apologized profusely, put her bag in the car and came back to my house.

My neighbor probably won't say anything to me but if she does, she better look out. I am going to ask her which house she wanted my friend to park in front of. I will also ask her where she wants me to park when there is a car in front of my house. And, I will tell her to move to the suburbs if private parking is all that important to her. But, I hope the incident just drops. I hate fighting with anyone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Only In A NYC Public School

I just got an IM from a former student asking me why I am not teaching trig. When I told him I had no idea what I was teaching as I have not been given a program, he told me his teacher's name.

So, programs are written. The kids know who is teaching what. Too bad the teachers don't know.

I even broke down and checked my DOE e-mail, looking for a program. Surprise, surprise, its not there!

Sleeping With The Enemy

Well, Mayor Money Bags has finally been able to do what I have been unable to do for years. Bloomberg has convinced my husband that it might be time for a change in the leadership of this city. Yes, I know, I have been sleeping with the enemy for years, but love makes strange bedfellows and at least he is finally seeing the light.

The first sign of discontent came when Bloomberg upped our pensions back to the original 8.25%. Although hubby wants me to make more money, this maneuver on Bloomberg's part was an obvious move to gain votes. After all, he has been complaining about teacher pensions for years. What motivation could he possibly have for giving in except for that of winning votes?

The second (and probably the bigger of the two) reasons for his discontent is all Bloomberg's transportation issues. We all know that the economy sucks and the city is in dire need of money. Yet, now, Bloomberg is proposing using school buses to transport senior citizens to shopping areas and doctors appointments. This is a great idea, one needed and appreciated. But, hubby wants to know why nothing was done years ago, especially when money flowed easier and the city would have been able to support this enormous project. Hubby is also wondering about Bloomberg's mission to improve transit. He doesn't recall Bloomberg making a big fuss when the MTA raised fares and closed LIRR stations in Queens.

Hubby is sick of Bloomberg's face and voice every time he turns on the television. He is seeing through the false hopes and promises Bloomberg is giving the citizens of NYC. He is sick of the wasted flyers we get in the mail at least twice a week and tired of watching me write some nonsense on each before I send them back. (It is only pennies, but sending them back is taking money from the campaign fund.)

Let's hope that others will find Bloomberg's push to be king as irritating, obnoxious and useless as my husband is finding it. Let's hope that others will be turned off just as much. Right now I am happy to have the enemy at home subdued.

How Cruise Lines Can Make More Money

They can weigh you before.... and then weigh you after. The reasons are pictured above. The surprising thing is that I don't even like sweets and almost never eat cakes. (I didn't even take pictures of the 24 hour ice cream station. That was just too hard to do with an ice cream cone in each hand.)

Chocolate buffet

Chocolate sushi Tea time

Dinner Desserts--after 4 or 5 courses, who could resist desserts. This was my all time favorite. Warm chocolate melting cake with a double portion of vanilla ice cream, complete with a cappuccino ice cream pie as a chaser.

And another warm chocolate melting cake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cruisin' Down The Hudson

We never made Canada on the cruise. Bill screwed that up. I really didn't mind that much as St. John is a pretty lame port. (I did feel trapped and drove my friends slightly nuts with my hyperactivity.) I've been there before and its not a place I care if I ever see again.

My favorite part of the cruise (aside from the food and the reggae band) is the NYC skyline. If Bill screwed that up, I would have been pissed. Here are a few views from the ship, a different view than I normally get to see.

This slide and city view--I'm too chicken to use it.
Intrepid Museum

A good way to get around. I've been wanting to do this since the first time I saw a Duck in Baltimore. I haven't gotten to it yet.

View from the ship

Our neighbor ship and the city.


The plane-helicopter crash over the Hudson happened not to far from here.

Most people don't associate jet skis and NYC.

The skyline I love from a different view than I normally see--I think this is Robert Wagner Park, near the financial center.

Lots of sailboats

Enjoying an afternoon sail.

The sun behind the clouds. Luckily for us, it did not rain.

Of course, the Statue of Liberty

The mighty little tugboats, guiding cruise ships and barges.

The top of the ship looks like it will smack right into the Verrazano Bridge. The whole deck burst into applause as we sail under and then out to see.

A Heart Of Gold

I miss my newspaper while on vacation and make it a practice to skim through all the ones I missed while away. Please forgive this rant that is old news to most people, but new to me.

Saturday's Newsday had a headline that grabbed my attention:

Bloomberg says drug CEOs aren't paid much

I couldn't believe my eyes. In fact, Bloomberg is quoted as saying:

"Last time I checked, pharmaceutical companies don't make a lot of money, their executives don't make a lot of money."

The article also listed a chart showing the pay packages at these companies in 2007. They ranged from a high of $33.3 million to a low of $9 million. I guess the guy at the bottom is the one Bloomberg is feeling sorry for.

Everyone, lets open our wallets and checkbooks to donate to these poor individuals. me. Bloomberg claims to care about the common man and here he is doing just that. All you Bloomberg groupies, be glad you found a man who supports you well.

I couldn't find the link to the article I read, so I googled Bloomberg and drug CEO's. You can check the results here.

Let's all remember to vote for this man with a heart of gold who realizes that one cannot live on $9 million dollars a year and that $33 million is not all that much.

Still Clueless

School starts two weeks from today. We still have no programs and only a slight idea as to what we might be teaching.

There are rumors flying around about some major changes at Packemin. I don't know if they are true and I won't comment on any I've heard (not even on the other blog) but if they are true, it will mean an interesting school year.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Peeps

Anyone who knows me knows that if there is a Jamaican around, I will sniff him out.

I fell in love with this reggae band that played every day under the track. and I hung out nearby all day (except when I was eating.) The guy on the keyboard is great, but I was in love with the DJ (the one in the middle) and the guitarist. Oh, to be young and single again.

(My husband knows about this obsession and knows I am all talk--no action, so he has no worries.)

A few pictures of the group.