Monday, February 28, 2011

Moving On

This one was made shortly before I left my old school for my new one.

Today's Gratitude Item: That things at school are finally settling down. My class rolls are relatively stable (no new kids coming in) and most of my senior students have graphing calculators and are slowly learning how to use them. Things are still crazy-busy but somehow its different from before.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

White Ice Lily

Dedicated to a colleague (old school) who is the longest serving staff member at school - and he has the mascot / soft toy to prove it!

Today's Gratitude Item: Having time to create some original Geometry (Angles) worksheets for my 8th graders. It will be interesting to see if they like these activities better than the text book stuff. Part of me hopes it makes little difference as said worksheets took a while to create. Of course now I have them, they can be re-used next year.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Carry With Care

Dedicated to one of my ex-colleagues, created when she was pregnant. I hope everything went well.

Today's Gratitude Item: A record day on Shutterstock. Had 43 downloads and even at 36c per download, that adds up to some very nice pocket money.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Swing Hard

Dedicated to my colleague who was my official "buddy" at my old school. When I started working there, he was the one who was responsible for showing me all the Maths related things. He's a great guy and a great golfer. Its a great pity that my current school does not have a similar system.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting my progress reports done. They are officially due on Tuesday and are very simple to do (its one of those "tick the boxes" jobs). Still wanted to get it out of the way so I don't need to worry about it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cycle Way

Dedicated to a colleague (old school) who "saved" me from having to relieve PE classes more times that I care to think about. Some debts can never really be repaid.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting the speakers in my classroom to work (with help from a colleague). Now I'm all ready to administer the numeracy knowledge test the easy way. This is a timed, standardised test and I have an .avi file that I can play which does all the work for me. Lets just say that sound is an integral part of the process.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Golden Rule

Dedicated to one of the most amazing Deans I have ever worked with. Lets just say that breakfast meetings have never been so good.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting a brand new white board at school. This is one of those "old fashioned" boards which you write on using a marker and rub off when you are done. Its a convenient place for writing down the names of kids who have won games (so that I can hand out stickers at the end of class). Its also a good place to do random explanations / calculations. This is one of those times when "more" is better.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fashionably Red

Dedicated to one of my colleagues (old school) who has an amazing sense of style. The pose really says it all :)

Today's Gratitude Item: That everyone in my dad's office in Christchurch* made it out of their building alive. The news right now is a mixture of surreal / horrible - its hard to believe that buildings that were standing at 12:48 pm have been reduced to rubble.

*We are in Auckland, but the head office of the company my dad works for is in Christchurch.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Dedicated to a colleague of mine (old school). Lets just say that we go much further back than anyone could ever guess (although I try not to remind her of this too often).

Today's Gratitude Item: Today was one of those days where *almost* everything went my way. The rain stopped before lunch time meaning I did not get wet on duty, all but one of my 10th grade students are now showing up correctly on my electronic roll(long story) and I found $2.20 when walking. Also, for the first time since starting school 3 weeks ago, no new students arrived in any of my classes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Dedicated to one of my colleagues who was simply amazing last year. She helped guide me through the treacherous maze that is the numeracy program and made it look easy!

Today's Gratitude Item: That the form I created for one of the web pages that I look after worked the first time - that pretty much never happens!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blue Streak

Dedicated to a colleague whose room I shared last year. For some reason, her electronic board was always perfectly aligned - I wonder how she did that....

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally getting my hands on a roll book for school. Its traditional to wait at least three weeks before writing up a roll book as classes / timetables tend to change quite a bit. Hopefully most of the major changes are complete and things should be a bit more stable now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Strange Math

Dedicated to a colleague who sits next to me in the open plan office. He's a "stats person" and was super helpful way back when I did that Statistics paper the year before last.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finding out about prezi, a really nifty presentation tool. I'll be using it with my students on Monday and it will be interesting to see how it goes. Teachers / students can get the education version which has almost all of the features of a paid pro account (less storage) and is completely free. The tool has some very large limitations at this point (it does not "do" bold / italic and sometimes hyperlinks don't work), but its fun to play with and potentially those problems will be fixed at some point.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thought Flow

Dedicated to one of my colleagues who had the job of looking after all our seventh graders last year. How she did that without going insane is one of life's not so little mysteries.

Today's Gratitude Item: That two of my students who needed extra help came to see me this morning. It appears that the message is getting through and offering extra help before school lets me see which students are motivated / dedicated. Its a good way to build relationships too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Orange Butterfly

Dedicated to a colleague (from my old school) who is always cheerful and enthusiastic. She never seems lost or unsure. Perhaps one day she'll share her secret.

Today's Gratitude Item: That the weather for tomorrow is looking good. We have athletics which means being out on the field for a good part of the day and it looks like things will literally be fine (yay).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good Fun

Dedicated to one of my colleagues (old school) who has far more patience than I. She is a really cool person and is always telling her class to "be good and have fun" - hence the quotation.

Today's Gratitude Item: That one of my dancers literally saved the day. It turns our that the hall where we usually dance was suddenly unavailable and no one told me! That meant that when we arrived to dance, we could not. Happily one of my dancers works relatively close to the hall and was able to get special permission from her workplace for us to use one of their spaces. Needless to say we are looking forward to getting back to normal next week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thinking Man

Dedicated to one of my colleagues how is a real genius when it comes to all things IT. The coolest thing about him is that he happily shares his discoveries and expertise.

Today's Gratitude Item: That my version of Word lets me .pdf things. Its a small issue but Word did a better job of preserving an image that I'd put into a document than cute pdf. Its slightly quicker too.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Serene Blue

Dedicated to "the photocopy lady" who is so much more than that!

Today's Gratitude Item: That it is incredibly easy to publish Interactive Geogebra Applets on the web. The user does not even need to have downloaded the software and its a great way to let students manipulate graphs / geometry to see how things work. I'll be using some of the applets that I made this weekend with my senior classes next week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bond, Ionic Bond

Dedicated to one of my colleagues who teaches Chemistry. I suspect the quotation will amuse him.

Today's Gratitude Item: For the first time ever, none of my miniature cheese rolls leaked! I have not made these for ages but a good friend requested them. The plan will be to share these after dance class this week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Infinite Entities

Dedicated to one of my Mathematics colleagues (from my old school). The quotation matches his sense of humour perfectly.

Today's Gratitude Item: Free morning tea and free lunch. Morning tea was to farewell some staff who got new jobs in the holidays, lunch was for teachers new to the school. Food was good both times :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clear Perception

Dedicated to one of the Biology teachers at my old school who got to spend far too much time in front of a computer.

Today's Gratitude Item: That everything went well today. From co-operative classes to finding $1.10 on my walk - it was just one of those "smooth" days. The best part was being able to figure out "Fathom" and generate some statistical graphs for my Head of Department. Poor guy had spent over an hour trying to do it and it ended up taking me less than 15 minutes (which was a big surprise as it was my first time using this software). Now my HOD thinks that I'm some kind of technical genius.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Best Books

Dedicated to another colleague who spends most of her time reminding students how to research effectively.

Today's Gratitude Item: My photocopy card is working and I can now print stuff too. It appears that most of the technical hiccups at school are well on their way to being a thing of the past.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Eye Fern

Dedicated to one of my Maths colleagues from my old school - she requested the quotation. Weirdly it fits the image quite well.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally getting the electronic white board in my room correctly aligned. To be more accurate, I did not manage to realign it and had to rely on our resident IT genius to do it for me. The problem was that my computer is basically weird and thinks it has two screens when it only has one. I was trying to calibrate the wrong screen. I still have a hate-hate relationship with the Active board in my room and spend a disproportionate amount of time wishing that the department at my new school had gone with the more expensive but infinitely better Smart option. The saying "you get what you pay for" applies in this situation.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Dancing Skeleton

Dedicated to one of my colleagues from my previous school who has a passion for biology (amongst other things). She also has a great sense of humour (posing with a skeleton was her idea).

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally managing to download an emulator for the Graphing calculator that I use with my senior classes. This will let me clearly show everyone what keys to press to get answers quickly and painlessly. Lets just say I wish I'd had a graphing calculator back when I was at school - these things are very, very handy.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Grand Philosopher

Dedicated to a colleague who teachers students to think! (and they thought they were just learning physics in his class).

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally tracking down the zog game which I will use to help my students get the hang of linear equations. I remember using it last year but managed to lose track of the link. It took a while to find it again (mainly because I could not remember what it is called).

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Simple Physics

Dedicated to a colleague who showed me the joys of the google sky app on his cell phone. Its no surprise that such a great guy would "discover" such a great app.

Today's Gratitude Item: Being able to explain to one of the 8th grade home room teachers how the trick on this website works. I think I'll use this website with my Math students as a starter and see if they can figure it out.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Dedicated to one of my colleagues who is one of life's great guides. I'm pretty sure her students get to enjoy the journey.

Today's Gratitude Item: My 9th grade class seem to be really good. It is the first time that I've taught a group of 9th graders who have listened and worked hard without being "chatty" or complaining. Wish I could say the same thing about my 8th graders but nothing is perfect.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Love the quote. Hopefully my colleague to whom this is dedicated will like it too :)

Today's Gratitude Item: Finally getting my google calendar set up for all of my classes this year. It involved first importing the data into an Outlook Calendar and then exporting it as a dos .csv file. It only took me three days to figure this out! Process had to be repeated 5 times to generate five separate calendars (so that each class has their own that they can access rather than seeing a lot of "extra" unrelated information).

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Clever Kind

This is dedicated to a colleague from my old school who is not only kind, but clever too. We go back quite a long way and trust me when I say that she is a really special person.

Today's Gratitude Item: Finding out how to make my school laptop connect to the wireless system. Turns out its a bug with the type of laptop that I inherited and the "fix" is the oldest one in the book - turn it off and turn it on again. Inconvenient but works like a charm. Now if I could only manage to get google calendars and a bunch of .csv files to "play nice" life would be even better. Its frustrating because my file does not have any weird characters / underscores or oddly formatted dates and times. The calendar would import a maximum of 13 events but anything more than that and it refuses to do it. There are days when I hate google calendars!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Kindness Matters

The quotation was requested by a colleague who is always kind. I still remember when he agreed to switch classrooms so that I could use his interactive smart board - he thought it was just for a period, I "needed" the room for the rest of the year. He was nice enough to make the change permanent even though it meant more than a little inconvenience for him. I'll always remember that not so small kindness.

Today's Gratitude Item: That I will have some time tomorrow to get organised for the coming year. The Y11 and Y12 students are not in tomorrow which means that instead of teaching them I'll be able to start doing some serious planning.