Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teacher Rant: Old School Measuring Cups, Dear Pyrex.

To whom this may concern at Pyrex:
A few months ago my 1-cup liquid measure broke during an unfortunate dishwashing accident. Its design was what I must now describe as 'old school'. It had increment markings that could be read only from the outside with the observer crouched down to the level of the meniscus of the liquid inside. I have since attempted to replace the aforementioned cup without success. It would seem the only 1-cup liquid measures sold in my area are the more modern 'read from above' variety. As a teacher and science educator, I am disappointed that a manufacturer of measuring tools would make such a blatant design flaw. Consider the following photos of the same volume of cooking oil.

In the world of baking, where the liquid to dry ratio is key, this is a huge discrepancy and, quite simply, unacceptable. I would highly recommend you reconsider this design, if not for me, then for the future bakers and scientist who I must forcibly re-educate in my classroom. 
Thanks for this,
Mrs. Miller aka Mighty Mom

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Perhaps it's an odd diversion, but I've been trying my hand at origami. It's mindful, yet non-verbal, a nice diversion from my heavily language-driven days. I think I enjoy choosing paper combinations almost as much as the creations themselves. These are Level 1 and 2 projects according to my book, The Simple Art of Japanese Papercrafts by Mari Ono. The book goes up to Level 5. We'll see...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And I quote

"Nana's spaghetti sauce is better than yours."
I guess the tuna marinara wasn't a hit.

How not to use your head, by The Captain.

The digital camera that had been mounted on his helmet took a licking, but it just kept ticking. No Captain's were harmed in filming of this serendipitous stunt.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Teacher at Work

This was my five minutes of fame last year: front page of the Peoria Journal Star, a photo taken as I novice taught at Quest Charter Academy. (Notice the granny glasses that I still wasn't in the habit of wearing except as a headband.) The article related the school's successes in its previous (and first) academic year. My fabulously engaging lesson plan was woefully overlooked. I left Quest at the end of December grudgingly, having fully enjoyed the experience of being a 5th and 6th grade science teacher, if only for a few hours a day. Who knows...I may be back there someday. For now, I need to prepare to teach fourth grade at Thomas Jefferson Primary School, a few blocks away. I start January 18th. Wish me luck!

Quest Charter Academy student Aniya Bailey listens to suggestions Friday from Bradley University student teacher Melissa Miller during 5th grade science class. The students were studying taxonomy, or the scientific classification, of different species.

Apparently they re-ran the photo on the first of January as part of an article called "Journal Star Best Stories of 2011." I guess I've had my fame for 2012 already. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Tremendous Year

The bottle was a gift from the Captain for my 40th birthday. I like to imagine having trailed my fingers along its dusty label as I trolled the Moet & Chandon caves not so long ago. We paired it with a lovely sweet pepper risotto and toasted our family's restored health. It was the best Champagne I have ever tasted, surpassing even the coupe of Krug I sipped in Rems.
Madelaine was well on her way during the fall of 2002. The choice to have a second child took monumental courage on my part -- more than moving to Europe with a three- and one-year-old, if you can believe that. Some people flourish during pregnancy. I do not. Luckily my desire exceeded my fear and I had a tremendous collection of family, friends, and experts to see me through. It was, indeed, a tremendous year in more ways than one.

Monday, January 2, 2012

358 days

I had to break it to them that 2012 was a leap year.
They took it well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Sound of Silence

Blogging, for me, has always begun away from the computer, in the very midst of precious moments that I don't want to forget. As the mother of little ones, those moments were interspersed by nap times during which I would record them at leisure while my pretty ones slept. As the naps fell away, the blog posts persisted, serving the purpose of distilling our family's experiences into something we could revisit weeks, months, or years later. But then life got busy. And complicated. I found myself debating whether I could post one thing or another for fear of betraying the privacy of Emma, Mouse, or my students. It is one thing to post about a child's antics when they are too little to be embarrassed by them; it is quite another to spill forth with one's parental pride or frustration when said proginy (or her friends) are capable of googling such anecdotes, code names be damned.  It is is a predicament that I  haven't sorted out yet, as my sporadic posting would suggest.
In a few weeks time I will begin student teaching. I guarantee that the blog-worthy moments will over-floweth, both at home and at school. A few months after that I hope to have my first classroom. I would like to look back a year from today at a journey in blogs. Read that as a resolution if you like. 2012 will be recorded. It promises to be a doozie.