Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chuck Norris lives!

I have just returned from a Westcoast Christmas. 

Penny, Ainsley's mom,  flew us home, spent the night, and now has to jump a flight back to Portland this afternoon.

Ainsley is at work and I walk Penny to Penn Station, navigating a route through tourists while carrying her two bags. We stop and grab a few 'I love NY' T-shirts at a classic hole-in-the-wall shop and continue West on 34th st. 

We get her ticket, watch the monitor, patiently waiting to see which track her train is leaving from. 

All is well, she makes her train and finds a comfortable seat next to the window. We hug and part ways. 

I sprint up the broken escalator toward the street noise above and charge, head down, along 33rd towards my cozy apartment and book waiting for me on our sturdy black couch.

I have 6 avenues to walk so I pull out my phone and give my folks a ring. My mom answers and we chat about my flight, our new puppy, what Ainsley's up to, how nice it was to all be together...

Out of nowhere, I feel what I swear is someone's shin violently colliding with my stomach. This has to be a joke, a dream, anything other than reality. As I unbend my hunched body, I look up and see a disheveled man, likely 25, in my face - vexed eyes penetrating my own. Time slows and my mind desperately searches through all possible reasons why my adrenaline is engaged and the wind is knocked out of me.

"You F***ing spit on me! Get the F*** outta here!" he stammers, among other things, as fellow pedestrians begin to gawk.

Mind you, I am still talking with my sweet mother about the wonderful Christmas we just shared.

"Are you serious?! Did you really just kick me? Who does that?" I question.

The man comes closer and I instinctively hang up the phone, put it in my pocket and anticipate having to fight for the first time since Jr High.

Two things I know for certain: 
1) I did spit on ground.
2) It was nowhere near another human being. 

His rage continues to build and the only provocation I can fathom must be coming from my  unrelenting stare. The gaze comes more from a place of utter dismay than of maliciousness. Apparently this guy is interpreting it as the latter. He gets louder, uses more expletives, and a confused crowd begins to encroach. The group makes me feel safe. I'm in mid-town and 3 in the afternoon for crying out loud! This is too weird to be happening. 

A smile creeps onto my face, likely emitting a message of mockery. I am not intending to make matters worse, I simply cannot understand why someone would kick a total stranger. Is he serious? my mind repeats.

I try to inform the delusional man that yes, I did spit, but it was not intended for anyone's shoe or to act as some sort of sign of aggression. 

In retrospect, I probably should have laughed it off and walked away but really?? Come on! -A Chuck Norris roundhouse karate kick to my gut? Really?

The stare down continues. The crowd grows. He uses a few choice fingers to communicate what his mouth has already been doing for 2 minutes now. He turns and walks away.

...."oh. my mom!" I think and quickly redial.

She was scared to death by what she overheard on her end of the line:
"Are you serious?! Did you really just kick me?"

I relay details of the encounter as she finally allows herself to breath and even laugh, knowing now that I am safe.

- Only in New York - 

View From Mike's Home on Lake Union

Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Coat Drive

We had another friendly little competition during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each homeroom tried to bring in as many coats as possible for donation. We tracked the daily results on a prominent bulletin board and watched the magic unfold. My homeroom (Washington) not only brought in the most cans for our canned food drive but won this one by a landslide. All in all, our school brought in almost 600 coats! 

It has been pretty amazing to watch my kids rally around the spirit of helping others. They kept coming back to the fact that they love joining together for good and cheering each other on as each can and each coat was brought in.

This morning, we took a bus from Harlem to the West Village to deliver the goods. Bag after bag after bag was unloaded and thrown down the assembly line of kids, stretching from the bus to the drop site.

We couldn't have asked for a better day for the kids to truly undertand how much these coats are really helping people. It was 13 degrees plus wind chill, and merely standing outside for a few minutes was challenging as the kids unloaded the bus.

Student Quote of the Day

This morning, I climbed the stairs from the D train to the blistering 16 degree weather.

10 feet in front of me I see two of my students. Almost in slow-motion, one slips on some ice and crashes on his backside.

"Ohhhhhh, I think I broke my butt....well just the right side. I guess that's why I have two."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Photo of the Day

Grading Descriptive Memoirs

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Photo of the Day

28th and Park - Balcony

Want Some Cookie With That Frosting?

Ms. Justice and I combined our Friday family meeting and had a cookie decorating contest as well as an old-school dance off.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Member of the Family!

Ainsley and I have been wanting to get a small dog suitable for a small New York apartment for quite a while now. Ainsley has done most of the research - craigslist, puppy finder, you name it. She found this one online, called the owner, got the OK from the landlord and set up a time to meet her near Penn Station. 

Here's the scoop:
-  Havanese / Yorkie mix
- currently 2.8lbs - will likely grow to 8-10lbs
- was born without her right ear flap
- was rescued from a puppy mill where she was destined for a life in a crate birthing litter after litter ... because of her "aesthetic flaw" which we find endearing.
- will be staying with the woman in New Jersey until we come back from our holiday travels
- We haven't named her and won't until we officially get her.
- she will definitely be loosing that pink bow :)

We are open to name suggestions so comment away!

Photo of the Day

Looking West on W144th Street

Bring on the Snow!

Photo of the Day

West Village Rooftop

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photo of the Day

Long story short:

1) Our school is having a coat drive and our homeroom has brought in so many coats, it's not even funny.

2) Ainsley volunteers some time each week with an elderly woman who has lived on the Upper East Side for 50+ years. She is helping the woman clean her closet of clothes she hasn't worn for decades. 

3) I brought this one in this morning which has to be from the early 80's.

4) Connect the dots -- Ms. Justice, my homeroom partner decided to have an impromptu fashion show in the middle of class. Hilarious!

3rd Anniversary

Last night, we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary! It's really hard to believe how quickly that time has passed. The fact that we both kept coming back to was how we are more in love with each other now than our wedding day. We feel pretty lucky.

Photo of the Day

Bring on the Tooth Fairy

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo of the Day

- Riding the 3 train back to Harlem from Lincoln Center -

 Ms. Moore, the 6th grade reading teacher, and I took the kids who have read 50 books on a field trip to the Upper West Side. They each got a gift card to Barnes and Noble and were treated to lunch a block away. The coolest part of the trip was seeing each kid, furiously peruse each aisle for titles, genres, and authors they were most excited to read.

Mr. Coe's Singing Telegram

Mr. Losse decided to dial up the local singing telegram office and order a surprise for Mr. Coe. During his 8th grade math class. This pink ape waltzes and is greeted by a classroom of screams and their teacher's bright red face. Hilarious!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Photo of the Day

Behavioral Reflection

Student Joke of the Day

Q: "Why does Snoop Dogg need an umbrella?"

A: "fo drizzle"

In our morning homeroom, we have 5-10 minutes to check in, set the tone for the day, give shout outs or share a joke. This is a great thing for our kids and for us. My homeroom partner, Ms. Justice, and I work really well together and enjoy being big dorks with the kids. This is a joke from this morning that had the whole class rolling.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

33rd & Madison

Photo of the Day

Indoor PE class

50 Book Challenge

With a school wide focus on literacy, we began the year with a challenge. In September, Tiki Barber came and spoke to the student body about the importance, and the joys, of reading. His pep talk was the official kick-off for the "50 book challenge."
Bulletin boards line the halls, tracking each students' progress. Students are held accountable and required to pass a comprehension quiz on every book they complete in order to count towards their 50.
As of today, we have six, 5th and 6th graders, who have already reached their goal .... and it's only the beginning of December!
Using every spare second we have to hype reading has made all the difference in the world. Like no other group of kids I have worked with, they are devouring books! Kids are using academic language to discuss pros and cons of various books, genres, characters, and authors. One of their biggest disappointments during the day is when independent reading ends. Kids have caught the reading bug and it's spreading!
I snapped this picture this morning as this 5th grader had two heavy Encyclopedia Britannicas , circa 1974, on her lap and one in her hand.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Student Quote of the Day

"Is Tony Hawk even alive, or is he just mad old?"

Monday, December 8, 2008


Working on Descriptive Memoirs

Please note the UW Husky paraphernalia in the background.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

6 train

Our Block

Good Behavior Trip to 'Make My Cake' Bakery

Kids earning the fewest amount of demerits each month get to go a special trip of some sort. This month, we went to a local bakery where the kids got a chance to dive headlong into a sugar frenzy and let loose a little.

Good Peeps

Chelsea Piers