Sunday, April 30, 2006

Corpus Christi Tri 2006

I am officially addicted to triathlon. I competed in my first today and it was a fabulous experience. It was a 1K swim, 30K bike, and 5K run on the beautiful beachfront in Corpus Christi, Texas. We started into the unexpectedly calm, 77 degree water as the sun rose over the bay. I struggled the first couple of hundred meters to get into a relaxed breathing and stroking pattern--what with getting kicked in the head and all--but by the turn-around, I was swimming like I trained. I felt good about my first competitive swim ever, coming in in 16:49. On the bike, I averaged just over 20 mph, which was pretty good considering the little bit of biking that I've done recently. Biking is definitely where I can make the biggest improvement in my triathlon and become very competitve. I was the fastest solo athlete in the race in the 5k, putting down an 18:27 at the end of the day, so that was good. I finished second in my age group (they put me as 25 since I'll be 25 by the end of the year), but I would have gotten 2nd in the 20-24 age group as well. I competed with the Rio tri club: Alan, Tyler, and Melissa from the west valley and we had a really nice time in Corpus. You can check out the full
results here. I'll have pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

EMS

Here are the winning posters from our Electromagnetic Spectrum poster contest that we held in my physics classes. Posted by Picasa

Navigators

I've recently begun playing with some new equipment, the TI-Navigator. Here my students are using them in groups to input their answers during a review game. Their answers are transmitted wirelessly to my computer, which I then project onto the big screen in the room. I've also been using them a lot in my chemistry class to upload assignments to their calculators, and it will let them check their work as they go and I can download it all back to my computer at the end of the period. It saves me the time of having to tell students whether their work is right or not and lets me focus on helping students who are stuck on how to even start the problems. Plus, it makes the class that much more engaging for my kids. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Guichy

Last week on Friday we released Guichy because he wasn't eating any of the live things we went out to catch him. Here's a picture of us the day we tried to feed him as we transfered Guichy and our collected insects into a larger container. This picture is blurry, but for some reason it cracks me up. I think it looks like one of those great teaching moments where all of the kids are gathered around because they really want to be (which it was), but I also look silly in it. And of course, there's Ives, posing as he does in every picture in class. Amber--if you're out there anywhere--notice the $5 tie you got me for Homecoming sophomore year of high school; I love that tie! Posted by Picasa

Chess Boxing

This story on Morning Edition this morning thoroughly entertained me.

NPR : Chess-Boxing Combines Brawn and Brains in One Event

Fantastic Voyage

Check out this awesome article about a field trip put on by some of my friends in Teach For America in the West Valley: Fantastic Voyage.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

La Reserva Biosfera El Cielo

Over the Easter Break, I went to El Cielo, which is a cloud forest in the very southern portion of Tamaulipas. 4 of us drove down in a Suburban to Gomez Farías and then up the gravel road, pictured here, to Alta Cima, which took about an hour for 9 kilometers. We camped the night, then hired a truck to drive us up another 7 km to San Jose from where we rode our mountain bikes back down the mountain (which was incredibly difficult on the very rugged, steep road). We made friends with people from Monterrey and I got to practice plenty of Spanish, particularly when I was nominated to ask to borrow alumninum foil from our neighbors. Posted by Picasa

Illinois

I recently decided to go to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After I finish this school year in Brownsville, I'll move to Illinois to start work on my Ph.D. in chemistry, which will take about 5 years.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Güichy

Today as my students worked on their Accelerator during the beginning of 7th period class, a spider descended from the ceiling, which was an earthshattering event in my class. One of my students yelled, "Sir! Get the camera!" while another student joined her to pose for a picture. After the photo shoot, we captured the spider and took it to another science teacher for identification and feeding suggestions (since they insisted that we keep it as a class pet). It turned out to be a zebra jumping spider. Cesia insisted that we name it Güichy (pronounced "witchey") because of the song "The güichy güichy spider" (keep in mind that I teach ESL Physics). It was hillarious, including the revelation of how Cesia indicated that it should be spelled since my suggested spellings of "witchy" and "witchey" were absolutely unacceptable. It's moments like these that are going to make it really hard to leave the classroom. By the way, we're going to try to feed him on the little brown ants from my kitchen (see roommates, it's okay that the counter doesn't always get wiped down). Posted by Picasa

One Act Play

I've been helping out with our One Act Play for the past several months. We put on our last of 3 in-school performances today, all of which were packed audiences and the students loved it. Unfortunately, during the first round of competition a few weeks ago, our show went 14 seconds over time and was disqualified, which was a big let-down for our cast and crew, but all of the school and public performances have been a huge success and our students have had a lot of fun with the show. Here are three members of the cast of "The Boys Next Door." Posted by Picasa