Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Fun Quiz

I haven't had the time or the inclination to write much this week, but I saw this on my friend's blog and it was fairly painless, and pretty interesting. You take a two-question quiz and then you are told which Mad Men-era icon you are. (I have never actually watched Mad Men since it is usually on after I go to bed, and usually that means I am not interested in making a habit of it. Who has time to watch TiVo'd shows?)

So here goes:

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Grace!

You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be independent, not clingy

  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner

  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts

  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable

  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity

  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place

  • * don't come on like a bulldozer

  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace
* standing back and viewing life objectively
* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
* not being caught up in material possessions and status* being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace

  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world

  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all

  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be

  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally

Graces as Children Often

  • * spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on

  • * have a few special friends rather than many

  • * are very bright and curious and do well in school

  • * have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers

  • * watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information

  • * assume a poker face in order not to look afraid

  • * are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict

  • * feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected

Graces as Parents

  • * are often kind, perceptive, and devoted

  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding

  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate

  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

This is pretty interesting because this is not how I would have perceived myself as a child. It is, however, a pretty accurate representation of me now. Anyway, take the quiz here to find out which icon you are!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Love 9th Graders

I had a very bad year last year. It wasn't ALL bad, but it was MOSTLY bad. I was very nervous about coming back to school this year since it was a very difficult transition to the school where I teach now. There are still some difficult things, but this year is unbelieveably different--I almost feel like I am at a different school. Things are going very well for the most part and I am more relieved than I can say. I tried to figure out what the difference is and I think one big part is my 9th graders.

This year I am teaching two sections of Spanish 2 at the honors level. There are two sophomores in one of the classes, but otherwise they are all 9th graders (13 and 14 year-olds) --and I have never had so much fun with classes in my entire teaching career. The combination of fun and hard-working is really tough to beat. From the first day these kids have come to Spanish class ready to go. We always have "talk-time" at the beginning of class and it is by far the best part of every day. They come in the door bursting with news to tell me in Spanish. Whether it is telling me about a soccer game that was won or telling the class about getting in trouble in handbells for laughing at something the handbells teacher didn't think was funny, we all start the class smiling and fully into Spanish mode. I don't know why they are so awesome, it must be that they are still young enough not to let inhibitions or fear stop them from trying. My two sophomores are definitely more sedate, so I must be onto something. 9th graders just rock.

Since they are so awesome and yet so focused, I have been able to do some very fun things with them this year. I think the best one so far is called "Sr. Español". I happen to be very lucky in my choice of a husband, since he is a great teacher and a native Spanish speaker (and because he is just amazing generally). We set up an activity where I give him the topics that we are working on and a time that we will be in class. While we are in class he calls my computer from home (we use Skype) and asks to speak to a student (whose name I give him ahead of time). When the Skype tone rings on my computer the whole class goes ballistic and everyone wants to be chosen. He will have a 2-3 minute conversation with the student about things the class has been learning and then ask to speak with a different student. This way everyone gets to talk to Sr. Español a couple of times each quarter. We do this once a week and the kids love it. The conversations are hilarious, because one of the rules is that they have to ask Sr. Español something about his day, so they ask him things like what he ate for breakfast that morning or if he is feeling tired from speaking so much Spanish. I can't wait for those two classes every day.

Sometimes I wonder if I am just very easily entertained, (or maybe my maturity level is just the same as theirs) but I think there is nothing more fun than watching kids learn. So this year I am appreciating my 9th graders and feeling grateful that I have 8 whole months left with them.

Period E

Period A

Monday, October 06, 2008


Ever since I married JC, I have heard about how bad American bread is. Although he is a little bit of a food snob, I have to allow that if I had grown up with his mother's cooking I would be, too. And, having eaten European bread myself, I have to concede that he is right--Wonder Bread just can't be compared.

Anyway, a goal of mine has been to make European-style bread. It has taken eight years, and I know more about yeast and gluten and flour than I ever thought possible, but yesterday I finally got it right:

JC ate the whole loaf right before my eyes. I wish I had taken a picture of that!!! Too bad it takes two days to make. At least he will know I really love him when I do!