Thursday, August 27, 2009


The day after I got home from DC this summer, Team Duckweed was reunited, as Kristi came to NYC to visit. (I'd like to think she was coming to visit me, but most people just come to visit the city in which I happen to live. I guess I'll take what I can get!)

While Kristi was here, we did LOTS of stuff, including walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (of course), visiting the Rockefeller Center (looking for Tina Fey, of course), buying Italian cookies in Brooklyn, venturing through (and surviving) Coney Island, and taking a trip to Boston to visit our Roman roommate, Sandra. Here are some of the highlights in, of course, pictures:

Lower Manhattan from the top of the Rockefeller Center.

Tall buildings.

Central Park and the Upper East Side

That's my hood! If you follow my finger down, you'd pretty much hit my apartment building.

I love how the Rockefeller Center is pretty much in the middle of Manhattan, and from the top of it, you can see the very tip of the island. Here's lower Manhattan. That really big building is the Empire State Building, which, by the way, is visible for at least 30 minutes into Jersey (to the west) or the Bronx (to the north). Crazy!

Here's Kristi on the Brooklyn Bridge. I think I've said it before, but if you ever come visit me, I WILL bring you here. Bee-yoo-ti-ful.


When we got off the bus in Boston, our first endeavor was to gain a few IQ points, so we headed to good ol' Harvard University. I still feel smarter because of this trip. The campus was very beautiful, and very old-looking. This is one of the main gates that, I think, led into a square near a library.

After searching for almost an hour for a sign that said Harvard, we finally gave up, and took a picture inside the subway at the Harvard stop. We figured that Harvard is too cool to have a sign declaring it as Harvard. When you go to Harvard, I guess you already KNOW it's Harvard. It needs no signage! (But don't I look smart?!)

A view of downtown Boston from the Wharf.

Break-dancing on the Wharf.

Taking a rest after a tiring session of break-dancing.

I thought this ad was really funny. And I thought that Dad would appreciate it.

One of the main streets for shopping in Boston.

A sign outside of Fenway Park right off the freeway. I thought Dad would appreciate this one, too.

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

A statue of George Washington in the Boston Common.

More break-dancing in the Boston Common.

The outside of the Cheers bar, where everybody knows your name.

Taking a nap in the Boston Common after spending too much time in the place where everybody knew my name.

MODEL SHOT! After spending all of that time at Harvard, Kristi and I were much too thoughtful for our own good.


It's funny how I've had all this spare time over summer vacation and yet did not post ANYTHING before now... now that school begins in just two mere weeks. (Eep!) Over the next couple of days I will try to give a very quick capture of the last few summer months.

School ended with a bang on June 26. My students ended the year with an average of 1.17 years growth in reading, which made me monumentally happy. Math, however, I don't really want to talk about ...

To kick off the summer I met mom in Washington, DC, for the fourth of July. We ate some amazing food, saw some amazing fireworks and overall had a really great time. Here are some of the highlights:

The Watergate Hotel

Arlington National Cemetery

Washington Monument

Mom at the White House right before we dined with Barack and Michelle


Capitol Building

Mom, I think there's something in your teeth!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA

This post is long overdue, I know, but I have had zero time lately for posting. But here I am, FINALLY. On May 15, 16 and 17, the fourth and fifth grades from my school took a very poorly planned field trip to Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Baltimore, Maryland. Yes, folks, that was MY students on a WEEKEND-long field trip. Oye!

Luckily, I only took seven of my students (though it should've been six). Here's (L-R) Luis, Darilis, Daniel, Jesslyn, Steven, Davita and Naomy in front of the White House, Day 1.

The students were much more interested in a Sri-Lakan protest than the White House.

Luis got on a Martin Luther King, Jr., kick while at the Lincoln Memorial. He pointed out to me (I wouldn't have known) where MLK gave the famous I have a dream speech, then he stood there and continued to recite the parts of the speech that he knew. He was so good that several Japanese tourists took his photo.

Reciting "I have a dream..." in front of the Reflection Pool at the Washington Monument.

Floating in outer space at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

We stopped for dinner on our way to Richmond, Virginia, at this place that let the kids get out and run around. Here are some of the girls feeding some ducks. It was quite beautiful - right on the Potomac River between DC and Virginia.

Day 2 at Colonial Williamsburg. This place ROCKED. I liked it way more than any of the kids, though, who stayed up all night in the hotel (some making calls to 911 - oye!). Needless to say, they were not happy walking around for 5 hours in the Virginian heat and humidity.

The jail at Williamsburg.

Naomy, locked up in the prison cell (which had no air for the hot summers and no insulation for the freezing winters. quite a terrible place to end up, if you ask me)

Our tour guide taught the boys to bow and the girls to curtsy. It was kind of adorable.

After Colonial Williamsburg we stopped for lunch then headed to the Jamestown Settlement, which was totally cool. We had a very awesome tour guide who let us touch everything. Suh-weet! Here's Darilis pestling some herbs for our dinner. :o)

Some of the kid around the camp fire. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this was NOT where we had dinner.

Steven smelling some Powatan Indian leather clothing.

Some of the kids (and Mr. O) on a replica of a boat the first settlers came across in. In that tiny room, 50 men and boys lived (with no way to use the restroom other than chamber pots) for 3 whole months. And we thought our 5-hour bus ride there was long!

Mine and O'Grady's kids in a Powatan canoe at the end of the day. This place was so cool (Williamsburg, too) that Mr. O and I are planning a trip back ... without all the kids!

The next day we went to Baltimore, MD, to go to the National Aquarium, which was VERY cool. I haven't uploaded my pictures of that, though. I'll try to get to it soon.

Overall, I wish I could say the trip was awesome and uneventful, but that would be a lie. It would've been a great trip under different circumstances, but as it was, it was quite exhausting and slightly annoying. There were some highlights, though, including Luis's MLK obsession, checking in on rooms in the hotel on Night 2 (one of the fifth grade teachers, Mr. Wells, made quite the ordeal of busting into kids rooms who were still awake at 1 in the morning ... I ended up rolling on the floor in the hallway laughing so hard I nearly cried) and, of course, spending time with some of my favorite kids.

What's Next: There are only four more weeks of school! I never thought the teachers looked forward to the summer as much as students, but I have NEVER been this excited for a vacation. I am also spending a lot of time reflecting on the good and bad things that happened this year, and really looking forward to starting with a clean slate next year!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final stretch!

32 more days until the end of school! (Though 27 REAL days, excluding field trips and in-house work days)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

To Baltimore!

So my school organizes some crazy field trips. But probably the craziest field trip we've taken this year (and will ever take again) occurred last Friday, when the entire fourth grade went to Baltimore, Maryland to see the (drum roll, please ...) Great Blacks Wax Museum.

Now, I don't say this is crazy because we went to a wax museum. Or that we went to Baltimore. I'm just saying ... what is the point of paying for a charter bus to take a bunch of kids on an eight-hour bus ride through four states to see a wax museum, when we have Madam Tussaud's downtown, about a half-hour bus ride away?


But even after the rambunctiousness and the three students who threw up on the bus (gross), it was overall a pretty fun, though still unnecessary, trip.

Oh my gosh, it's Barack Obama!!! In wax, anyway.

My kids (Steven, Jesslyn, Darilis, Daniel, Luis and Heriberto) pretending to be mummies.

Darilis and Jesslyn, saying: "Reading is COOL!"

Once I finally got the kids to start reading the signs, instead of just looking at the wax and moving on, they learned a thing or two. This photo was taken right after Luis, Daniel and Heriberto learned that George Washington Carver invented peanut butter. All three of them turned to the wax figure at once and said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH!"

Bad idea: feed a bus full of kids at an all-you-can-eat buffet then tell them to get back on a bus for four hours. How do you expect them to NOT throw up?

Before we headed back to NYC, we stopped by the Baltimore harbor, which was very nice. Here, the kids were trying to feed ducks candy from their pockets. Oye ...

Darilis pretending to be Barack Obama giving a speech.

My kids! Well, half of them, anyway. L-R: Steven, Daniel, Khristian, Luis, Heriberto, Jesslyn, Darilis, Kimberly, Naomy.