• appetite,  instruction

    appetite, instruction, and carrot cake

    My fiance’s mom made a carrot cake for her wedding back in 1975, and to continue the tradition, she’ll make us a small carrot cake to use for our cake cutting (alongside the cupcake tower we are getting in lieu of a traditional cake). She made us a test version earlier this summer, but had to scale down the original recipe. The Recipe CARROT CAKE 2 c. (white) flour, all-purpose 2 c.(white) sugar 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. cinnamon 4 eggs 1 c. cooking oil 4 c. grated raw carrots ½ c. chopped pecans Beat eggs ‘til frothy, beat in oil, add flour mixture, add carrots…

  • instruction,  musings

    the new teacher down the hall

    I may be psychic. Just kidding, I’m not turning in my teacher hat to become the next Miss Cleo. I expressed yesterday how much I wished that BPS students would come back to teach in their communities. This would be so much more meaningful than recruiting more Teach for America folk, for reasons very well said in this article by Valerie Strauss. For one, “the organization’s facile circumvention of the grinding, difficult, but profoundly empowering work of teaching and administering schools has created the illusion that there are quick fixes, not only for failing schools but for deeply entrenched patterns of poverty and inequality.” Bringing bright young college graduates to urban…

  • instruction,  musings

    admissions test prep book

    E to the x! E to the y! E to the x to the y! Tangent, secant, cosine, sine 3 point 1 4 1 5 9 Square root, cube root Log of pi Kick their axes TJ High! I graduated from  TJHSST in 1998. It is an exam school that regularly earns the #1 spot in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. I will always cherish the friendships I made there. I’m looking forward to my 15 year reunion this fall and proudly sport the “We Came for the Sports” bumper sticker on the back of my car (a sticker that caused a ’94 alum to yell “I keep seeing your car and…

  • appetite,  restaurant outing

    Toraya Sushi Moriawase

    One perk of not yet being in school is the opportunity to explore new lunch places during the workweek. During the school year, if I didn’t bring lunch, I stuck to takeout within a half mile radius and never after 11:50 a.m. Flour (chopped Greek salad or BLT) and Berkeley Perk Cafe (California tuna melt) were my go-tos. I do love those places dearly, but I jumped at the chance to go to Toraya in Arlington this afternoon with my sister. I also ventured out of my comfort zone to try the sushi moriawase (the chef’s selection of whatever is fresh that day). I’ve wondered about it at other sushi…

  • appetite

    salad & thai curry

    My sister and I went to the Alewife Whole Foods on our way back from the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum today. I was a little wary of going when slightly hungry and without a list, but we came away with lots of good produce and ideas for salad and curry. I love making salads for groups of people and not having leftovers. if only the process could be scaled down, space-wise and equipment-wise, for school lunch. This salad includes a large yellow heirloom tomato cut up and sprinkled with Murray River sea salt, spring mix, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette. Next I made green curry (loosely based on this recipe).…

  • productivity

    just do it

    Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project has a “one minute rule” – she must do any task that can be finished in one minute. This morning I decided to start enacting that rule by organizing our spare bag cabinet. It felt good to have neatly arranged paper bags, reusable bags, and plastic bags instead of the overstuffed mess that had popped out at me when I went to get a bag for recycling. I have also decided to do this with birthday cards. A friend recently pointed out that he received 99 Facebook messages and 1 paper birthday card. In general, I do not wish people happy birthday on Facebook, and I…

  • appetite

    easy weeknight meal: peanut noodles

    Getting back to the “appetite” portion of my blog and chronicling what works well as an easy weeknight meal. I dig meals that can be constructed with pantry ingredients and  still work with substitutions. If the directions need more planning than my next day’s lesson does and the ingredient list necessitates trips to Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and C-Mart, then the recipe gets relegated to “differentiation challenge meal.” I fell in love with the peanut noodles at the Citrus Club in San Francisco thirteen years ago and tried replicating them after collecting about 20 different recipes back in 2006. However, what I thought would combine the best of each…

  • instruction

    One Good Thing

    After one cool discovery on Facebook tonight, now there’s one on Twitter–the One Good Thing blog. I’m digging the positivity, and the idea that “every day may not be good, but there is one good thing in every day.” It’s inspiring for building good habits and becoming happier. Last September, I had every intention of blogging regularly, but didn’t do it because I felt that I needed “big” posts. I also wish I’d tracked more happy moments for the smile file. I feel like that builds up mental immunity against succumbing to the “misery loves company” attitude that can start to thrive in teachers’ lounges and around the hallways. Though…

  • instruction

    Reddit Teacher Care Packages

    I periodically quit Facebook or go on a newsfeed “diet” to improve my productivity and minimize my FOMO (fear of missing out). However, today Facebook offered up a classroom supplies opportunity via a friend’s status update. Reddit Gifts for the Teachers is underway! Sign up if you need supplies for your classrooms, and nice people sign up to send care packages. Hoping to find more gems amidst the baby pictures, Huffington Post articles, and Candy Crush requests!

  • instruction

    revising for ’13-’14: websites

    It feels really good to be heading into my sixth year of teaching. This summer, I fully accepted that I wouldn’t start planning anything until late August, so that made July and early to mid-August feel much more relaxing. Today I went to the Boston Public Library to get myself into school thinking mode…as much as I like my couch, I take three times longer to get things done than I do in a libraryish environment! I started updating my syllabus and reflecting on what went well with my routines and big picture ideas, and started with web sites–namely those that did not get used to their full potential. ManageBac…