We’ve Moved

From now on…and much more frequently…we will be posting here!




Wow…it’s been a while

It’s been more than a year since we’ve written.  That’s far too long.  There are big changes coming in our lives and to our family blog in the next week.  Stay tuned…blogging/photography really IS something that we want to keep on.  I keep finding that I’m FOREGETTING so many of the day-to-day details that I have got to start writing them down!  Until next time…


summer vacation

School has been out for about a month and a half now. As much as I enjoy teaching, it’s been one of the best summers I’ve ever had. Not having to go to work every day and sleeping peacefully every night have seriously been the most refreshing and reenergizing thing I could have asked for.
I spent the first 5 weeks of the summer learning a new curriculum to teach freshman physics this fall. The program and its organizers (all outside of the NPS system) are awesome and I imagine this program will be wildly successful! My only hope is that the district communicates with the school building people to actually make this happen smoothly for my students.

Beyond that, we’ve taken a couple of weekend trips with friends to enjoy the beach, some live music, and the beautiful summer weather. We’re packing up our house to move next Friday. Wow. That’s coming quick. I’ll also be back helping out the 09 corps this week and next with round 0 and foundational tools. I’m looking forward to it, and some pressure to finish my own stuff so I’m prepared for the school year.

The rest of the summer will be painting, moving, unpacking, organizing, planning, setting up the classroom, and heading back to school. Looking forward to another great year!

The West Village is Gay

Like, “Wow, was that a time warp?” level of gay. What a perfect locale for midwestern Newlyweds to cut their teeth on being in the world, but not of it. Rebbeca is moving a bit faster than I’m ready though. We stepped out of the Christopher Street PATH station and the first thing she said was, “Can we move here?” Seriously.

We discussed (read: I argued to her) the how’s and why’s of not being able to move there while we wandered down to the corner of 4th Street and something like 12th-ish.  (Right about where Hudson turns into 4th and all the cab drivers will tell you that this street doesn’t exist here…there’s also a hidden *cliff dive* bar that’s pretty cheap.) Here we stopped for breakfast and drinks.IMG_1547 (Medium)

I like little bistros that are open to the sidewalk. Love them actually. This is what I’m finding to be my East Coast equivalent to Sir Benedicts (shoutout to Duluth!). Here, you can actually drink and think (or even talk) without stilettod bimbos or posturing meatheads forcing my mind to revolve within the gravity of their world.

And the food is edible too.

And the food is pretty edible too.

We wandered for a while after loosening our minds with mamosa’s and iced Bailey’s (and quieting our bellies with an omelet filled with all kinds of plant life and whatever it is Rebbeca photographed…), and continued our conversation.

Like I aforementioned, the West Village area is awesomely gay. Not totally gay like THE Village, but gay enough to have clean quiet streets and friendly, but unobtrusive locals. I’ve decided that I love gay people…well, men anyway, the truly raving lesbians are still kind of awkward, but that’s more of a social issue than some sort of illegitimate bias. I generally find they tend to be types of people I wouldn’t like anyway, straight or otherwise, so there’s some comfort there.

Gay men are helpful, savvy, and generally good natured. You can usually expect solid advice from them on a topic and they’ll tell you if they don’t know much about whatever you ask them. Assuming you’re the type to consider homosexuality a flaw, what would you prefer to be the serious downfall in a friend? I don’t want to associate with cleptos, liars, whores, or whiners so someone who’s wonderful, but is gay, is pretty flippin sweet in my book.

Like this man who cut Rebbeca’s hair. His little shop is on the lower level on a corner near a giant cathedral in SoHo. Rebbeca wants him to be her new best friend and do her hair at least once a month if not every week.IMG_1552 (Medium)

See how happy she is?!

We explored quite a bit just for a relaxing time away from Newarkness. One of the things I saw that was pretty interesting was handball. There were actually people who got together at a public place with the intent of playing handball. It’s something I’ve done for a lack of options, but not here in the capital of the world that is NYC. People came together to play. Lots of people. They’re behind the ones hooping it up in this picture.

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All that walking around makes you thirsty though. So we found our way back to a place Rebbeca wanted to go. We ate chips and had drinks at a little outdoor mexican place that gave us a time limit and sat us in like a Tetris stack. I didn’t appreciate it very much, but she liked it. I wanted to go across the street to the place for explorers and mad scientists…since that’s pretty much what Rebbeca and I fit to a “T”.

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…where’s that come from and what’s it actually mean, “to a T”?

My latest endeavor

The past few day’s I’ve been on a mission: find the solution for students coming LATE LATE LATE to school in the morning.  A few disclaimers: 1. I have seniors the first block of the day. 2. They have major senioritis. 3. They’ve learned over their four years that there are no consistent consequences for their tardiness, they simply show up sign their names in a book and keep it moving.

I am sick.and.tired of beginning class at 8:25 (although school STARTS at 8:20) with only 4 out of 20 students.  I give them until 8:45 to get there by having breakfast and the do now for the first 20 minutes.  I’ve tried calling home every third tardy, I’ve turned in behavior referrals, spoken with the guidance office, child study team, it’s affecting their grades and I’m simply fed up with it.  So my new mission is to figure out a way (in my classroom) to remedy this problem.  Maybe not for this year, but I’d like to come in next year with a solid plan.  I think the key to a successful approach is to have a positive incentive or rewards system for the students who are there on time.  A friend of mine gives out scholar dollars.  With these scholar dollars students can buy test points, free homework passes, bathroom passes, and any number of other things.  I’m wondering if this is something I can maintain.

Tomorrow AND Friday I’m doing a lab.  I’ve split the students in two groups.  Half are doing the lab on Thursday and the other half on Friday.  I didn’t tell them their groups.  I told them if they aren’t in class on time on the day that they do their lab, then they don’t get to do the lab.  They will do an alternative lab

Today is Parent-Teacher Conferences Day

So, I had full intentions of writing a post today that included awesome pictures of some of our fun adventures since moving here – a day in NYC, a weekend in DC – but I forgot to put the pictures on my computer.  Instead, today you get my perspective on urban education and the art of the parent-teacher conferences, and parent-teacher-school relationships in general.


When I first interviewed for TFA, one of the role-play questions I had to answer involved my solution to getting & keeping parents involved in student education and the art of pulling off a really successful parent-teacher conference night.  At the time, in all of my idealism, I remember saying that if the first night/time wasn’t successful then it was something that WE, AS A SCHOOL, were responsible to fix.  We just needed to call parents more, communicate with them ahead of time, go the extra mile, provide food and day care and set everything up perfectly so that we call all work as this great TEAM to further their child’s education.  I still have a lot of that optimism and I do believe that having parents involved in the education of their children is a vital part of making successful students, but as I alluded to yesterday, there is SO MUCH MORE that goes into actually MAKING the solution happen.  In the case of the parent-teacher relationship, the solution starts with me… Continue reading

It’s been a while…

We certainly haven’t kept up with blogging the way that we intended. In our defense life has been BUSY!  In the next few days we’ll work on updating all of our *fans* with some pictures and anecdotes of the wonderful adventures this first year of marriage and life on the east coast has taken us on.  We’re loving every minute of this crazy and hectic life out here.  We were warned that none of it would be easy, it hasn’t, but in the midst of challenge and struggle we have found a God who has provided for us in every way.  We would not be the people that we are today without having walked through the fires that we’ve walked in these last 11 months.  Here’s a short story from Rebbeca, a brief update on life in the classroom…

Continue reading