Sometimes, I Eat Cake For Lunch

…and other advice you probably never asked for

Month: April, 2013

Lesson Planning

Some lessons are hard to plan, like the ones where I have NO IDEA what is going on and where I can’t find any good supplementary materials to use. Others are EVEN HARDER TO PLAN. Like this upcoming Wednesday’s, on Presidential Elections — endless amounts of material make this ridiculously complicated, and I can’t even begin to think about where to start. If anyone has any suggestions for an angle to approach it at, let me know! Electoral College is on Friday.


One thing I got out of the way this weekend was my required CPR training. It actually wasn’t so bad — it’s a 6-hour course, but the instructor sped everything up (literally, including the DVD) so we finished in 3.5.

I officially know how to use a defibulator now! The Automatic kind, not the cool manual kind you see on medical dramas. But it’s still cool nonetheless. These machines are so automatic that when you plug them in they tell you what to do. You just need to know how to do the CPR (check!) and when to stand back (and, when to use the universal “YOU HAVE TO STAND BACK WE’RE SHOCKING THIS PERSON RIGHT NOW!!!!”) hand signal. Also, when the real EMTs finally get to the scene, they can take your AED, plug it in to their machine, and it will give them a readout of the person’s previous heart stuff, how cool is that? And the machine also records audio, so the paramedics can hear exactly what you were saying before they got there. I also learned that if your victim has a pacemaker, you CAN use an AED on them (good to know), and you can still use it even if they have body piercings (“It will just burn a hole through their skin”) :/

Not going to lie, in the fleeting moments when we got to practice using the machines with CPR, the thought floating through my head was THIS IS MY CALLING. I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR. And then the next thought floating through my mind was SNAP OUT OF IT AMELIA. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE A DOCTOR. YOU HAD TO MENTALLY PREP YOURSELF FOR A MONTH BEFORE YOUR LAST BLOOD TEST.

Plus I figure, I’m so close to finishing this program, I should probably just stick with teaching.


Whew, what a week. The problem with not blogging every day is that I forget what I wanted to say, grrr!

My students are taking their Congress test (created and formatted from scratch by yours truly) on Monday, and then that same day we’ll delve straight into the Executive Branch. I’ve been working on that unit for a long time, but it’s giving me a lot of problems organizationally. My Mentor Teacher finally helped me get an order down: Day 1: Basic structure of Branch, Day 2: Elections, campaigns, primaries, etc, Day 3: Electoral College (I’m particularly excited about the activity I have planned for this day!) Day 4: Presidential Powers (Domestic) 5. Presidential Powers (Foreign), etc.

And then maybe some more stuff. Before I started, I just assumed that DUH I would be using the West Wing to teach about the Presidency! But it’s actually a lot easier said than done. My MT showed The American President last semester, so if it’s okay with him I might show that instead since it’s contained into 2 hours instead of 7 seasons (What? You mean my students DON’T care if CJ and Danny Kincannon get together over the course of 7 years working together?!).

I have two units left to teach. I’m at school everyday, but I counted, and I only have FIFTEEN days of teaching left. One one hand, it feels like a lot, but I know that actually isn’t true. My goal is to try and use as many different types of activities as possible since I only have 15 times to try.

Also, speaking of school, and I am REALLY going to miss the kids in my ELD class. They’re just so funny and silly, and I love the atmosphere of that class. Today, students were interviewing each other for an assignment, and they had to answer questions about themselves. I overheard some particular funny conversations.

Q: What is something you feel strongly about? Student A: “Girls”.

Q: Think of one word that describes you. Student B: “Basketball”.

Q: Think of one word that describes you. Student C: “Attractive and fancy” (a boy).

Even though it’s my first class of the day and it starts at 8AM, I genuinely like working with them and I feel like the help I give actually has an impact, which is a great feeling.

Also, the scores for my Teaching Event are finally up as of right now (after almost a month of agonizing). I’m happy to report that I passed, and I scored MUCH better than I thought I would considering how hard I found it to cover everything that the rubric required. For each of the sections, you get a score from 1-4, with 1 being low and 4 being very hard to get (they told us that people don’t get 4s on most sections). While I was writing it, I aimed for a 3, knowing that I could get 2s and still pass. Here are some of the reviewer’s comments from various sections:


“These plans clearly draw on both prior learning (from last Unit of Instruction) AND utilize ways to incorporate student interests and background (drawing on such as their own family political perspective or as 17/18 year olds, their very own opinions), Candidate’s use of videos and political cartoons, combined with STRATEGIC GROUPING and Graphic Organizers, make this a solid Level 3, bravo!”


“These strategies reflect attention to student characteristics, learning needs, and/or language needs.
In both clips, Candidate makes good use of group dynamics (StrategicallyPlaced) interactions, forcing dialogue (in 2nd clip) before writing together, probing questioning to enhance learning, and use of RANDOM CALLING (in Clip 1) to insure more student involvment!” (3!)

“Level 4 is alleged to be impossible, but Reviewer feels that Candidate met ALL OF THAT CRITERIA, her videos and writeup clearly show evidence of her efforts to get students to interact and think about these cartoons, going beyond basic inputs to extract higher level thinking responses, probe for deeper understandings, utilizing student real world experience, like the piano player’s inputs, BRAVO!” (!!!!  And, there was one section that we were told it was easier to score a 4 on, but this wasn’t even it, yesss)


“Candidate gives good feedback on the 3 Students Assessment Samples, it is clear, positive in intent, and yet gives suggestions to improve! The shortcoming is that she basically does not give any commentary on whole class feedback, therefore, this will not qualify for Level 4 score.” (I was so close!)


“Candidate utilized Zwiers research, considering Academic Language and grouping decisions, she also appropriately quoted Fisher, Frey, etal, regarding Heterogeneous Grouping arrangements and CLEARLY she utilized this idea well in her Strategic Grouping of 4-6 students, in ways that especially assisted her ELL’s and attempted good balance in other ways as well. Changes were discussed in limited way, but enough to justify Level 3 score even though most of her thinking related to allowing more time.” (3!)

Academic Language:

“Reviewer feels comfortable with Level 3 and added the footnote here to show just how close Candidate came to NAILING listed supports, ie, her use of Graphic Organizers both lessons, good use of Vocab Development, and her Strategic Grouping that insured her large number of ELL’s or former ELL’s had good opportunities to have good peer support in the groups! Overall, Reviewer would like to COMMEND Candidate for some excellent work, likely she will continue to grow in positive ways, keep after it, you are doing very fine work!” (3, yay!)

Eeeeeeee! Okay, so to be fair, I didn’t include the 2 scores here that I got, but overall I’m thrilled with the comments, and apparently sometimes I’m better at this whole teaching thing that I thought, HOORAY 🙂

Successful Teaching Day

Today the kids (in the form of their assigned interest groups for the simulation) presented their presentations for or against the proposed bill. It was awesome. Every presentation was way more thorough than I hoped they would be in my wildest dreams, and the questions that the House Judiciary Committee asked actually inspired thought.

Plus, the Association of Police group brought donuts for me and for the Committee. Which was delicious, but which was also awesome because as a class we were able to talk about how the donuts could represents PAC money, which perhaps the Association of Police had used to contribute to the campaigns of representatives sitting on that committee! Okay, it wasn’t as smooth as that — more time would have made that a better conversation, but it was still a great connection that we were able to kind of touch on!



Had my interview with LAUSD, etc. I literally have no comment, who knows how it went?

Ate a hamburger, worked. Got all upset and stressed. Ended the day feeling JUST FINE for no reason in particular.

April 21

So my latest day teaching (the one which I apparently was done prepping for at 2PM) did go according to plan and it was amazing! I spent the day before running around, typing up meticulous directs, assembling packets, stapling, etc, and it was a success. They were engaged and working. We’ll see how Part 2 goes on Tuesday, fingers crossed 🙂

I have a lot of mood swings about upcoming weeks. This last week I had a major freak out about not knowing what I was going to teach this upcoming week and having nothing planned, which turned into me feeling really confidant and having too much time on my hands. That’s the main reason I want to finish this program — mood swings and panic attacks are not fun.



Is it actually possible that I planned something that might be fun tomorrow, furiously stapled and PowerPointed away, and got done by 2PM? And then had extra time to start working on my lecture notes for NEXT THURSDAY? And then did some extra work tonight to save me some time for another assignment tomorrow? And did I just get back from a long dinner? AND IT’S NOT EVEN 10 YET??


This might be the first time that I’m not going to bed in a panic. I like it. But we’ll see how it goes….


Today I went to observe a freshman level science class. I walked in wearing my business casual, my trenchcoat, my pearls, my non-backpack bag, and this kid still turns around and asks if they have a new students in the class. 

Short people problems. 


Today I taught my Bill-into-Law lesson, which I was excited to teach because this was the sample lesson I planned and taught way back in November, so I was happy to not plan completely from scratch. This time, it only took me all day on Sunday to finalize, instead of all day on Sunday and parts of the previous two days, wooo!

During our Seminar today, my friend Nick was killing time by coming up with the menu for his religious-themed theoretical sandwich shop. I even contributed a few sandwiches: “The Saint Subastien” — four mini sub sandwiches, all stuck with toothpick arrows, “The Cathed-roll” — a sandwich served on a roll (meat TBA), and “The Saint Annewich” — I haven’t decided what’s going in this one yet, but in one of my Bordeaux art history classes, the professor told us that if you turn Da Vinci’s Saint Anne painting to the side, Saint Anne’s dress forms an image of a bird — which symbolizes Da Vinci’s mother or something. So the meat will probably be chicken.

Also, I think I’m going to lose it over how people are reacting to these explosions in Boston. OF COURSE it’s tragic and awful. But everyone on facebook is acting like they have never heard of an explosion before — when bombs have been going off in the Middle East (and elsewhere) and killing MANY MORE PEOPLE for years. I’ve resisted posting these thoughts on facebook so far. But I might not be able to resist any longer. It just makes me think that people don’t pay enough attention to the world around us. It’s disgusting.


Finishing up a lesson plan for tomorrow, prepping for the rest of this week, made enough baked rigatoni to last for most of this week, mmm. Here’s a picture from last weekend, at an arcade in LA! Enjoy.