UHS Homecoming 2016

16uhshcspiritMy high school site is unique in its tradition of decorating entire hallways for Spirit Week. Each day all students dress up according to a theme, culminating in Spirit Night on Thursday where class councils bring in the decorations they’ve been working on all quarter. On Friday morning students tour around and a committee of staff have the difficult task of awarding points. This year the Seniors won, followed by Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen. My few pictures here fail to do their amazing work justice. EVERY locker mural was outstanding, and many of the smaller elements such as Cinderella’s coach and  the working WALL-E robot were impressive. But below, from 12-9th grade are a few tastes of Homecoming 2016.

Seniors: Disney Princesses — Rapunzel’s tower, Beauty and the Beast mural

Juniors: Imagination– Peter Pan mural, Jolly Roger pirate ship

Sophomores: Lion King / Finding Nemo / Ratatouille / A Bug’s Life —  Pride Rock, Finding Nemo painting

Freshmen: Video Games — Sugar Rush mural, Wreck It Ralph model


Simple Sunset Celebration

A few days ago my DH and I celebrated my birthday on a weeknight. We dropped in at Skyloft in Laguna Beach and enjoyed the rooftop view and generous happy hour appetizer portions. Then we got gelato to nibble on as we strolled the boardwalk. A lovely tourist from Spain offered to take our picture and she caught us in a wonderful light. I’m lucky to have enjoyed many wonderful birthday celebrations, but this simple and low-key early evening with my best friend was one of the most special. Sometimes less truly is more.

As the sun set, we drove home and I spent the rest of the night entering progress grades that were due the next morning. *sigh* Life is… ironic. But mostly in a really good way. 🙂

Two Sides of the Same Coin

This image of a spinning coin reveals not only that it’s possible to view both sides of a coin simultaneously, but that it’s lovely. Reading and writing are two sides of the same cognitive coin. Carol Booth Olson’s book,  The Reading/Writing Connection, has helped me teach reading and writing skills hand in hand for years. Similarly, as I pursue my Innovative Educator Certificate with CUE, I realize that Exploring and Sharing are both sides of a different coin called Learning. So, as I explore, expect me to share with my cohort colleagues in social media and in this blog as well as the one I’m creating for my e-portfolio, not just to document my learning but to expand it with the comments of others. I’m already finding that, as I spin and blend the sides, it’s lovely.

Warm Fuzzies


My top Google search is “baby animals” because I choose a new image every day to project as my students walk into my classroom. This was today’s “awww-inspiring” picture. I explained to my classes that I picked it because I had spent the weekend visiting my mom. As she gets older, having survived my dad and most of her friends, I cherish every day I can still talk to her.

I joke about my blatant emotional manipulation, but finding a fresh, happy baby animal to share every day sets MY mood as well as my students’. I certainly prefer it to my former practice of projecting my agenda for each class. It’s also less demanding cognitively than, say, a quote of the day. Several teachers, as part of our WASC data collection, shadowed students one day. How daunting to have to switch rooms and gears within a six-minute passing period from taking a geometry test, to analyzing Wuthering Heights, to setting up a science lab, then performing a skit in Spanish, THEN lunch, learning a history lesson, and working out at sports practice. The least I can do is provide a visual warm fuzzy as they transition to English class.

Twilight Tent City at LA Live on Friday

On my day off for Veterans’ Day, I drove with DH to his office at LA Live and discovered Day 2 of an immense, geeky campout of over 1000 Twi-hards (die-hard Twilight fans) awaiting the premiere of Breaking Dawn – Part 1 on MONDAY! As a roving reporter for my friend Eileen Rivera’s “Bite Club” podcast, I took some pictures and interviewed some wonderful folks. My complete Flickr set is here, but I’ve embedded some of my favorites.


There are 3 separate huge, white tents covering  individual tents on the plaza and two places on Chick Hearn Court, blocked off to traffic between the Staples Center and Nokia Theater. Only people with wristbands are allowed into the tent area and guards keep outsiders at bay at night.


Yahoo Movies is sponsoring a “Twi-Fi Lounge” set up to look like a forest, that’s blasting music and interviewing folks, with a photo opp for Brides of Edward, complete with a huge wedding cake, bouquet and dresses.

Pictured is Dennis Maurice, who drove his Kristen Stewart-loving family from Fort Myers FL for their third premiere.  Check out the back of his T-shirt. The family actually has a room at the Westin Bonaventure, but has been sleeping in their tent at night!


Tiffani Maurice runs a fansite for Kristen’s new movie, Snow White and the Huntsman. She also volunteers for a wolf sanctuary call Shy Wolf and hopes to get a t-shirt into Kristen’s hands to help publicize the charity.  Tiffani has raised funds for Shy Wolf by auctioning off autographed Twilight merchandise she’s acquired.


Pictured are 3 of 10 canvases that Sherri Kennedy painted and brought with her from Fremont, CA. She has autographs from Robert Pattinson on the Edward canvas (near the L bicep) and from Taylor Lautner on the Jacob canvas (near the red heart). No, these are not for sale. She has other work for sale in her Etsy store, though.

My favorite conversation was with two Filipinas, Annie Palmer on the left from London, and Jela I on the right from Vallejo, CA, who are part of a group of 4 Twi-hards. They also spent the night before the actors’ handprint ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theater last week and were 7th in the queue to witness it. And, of course, they attended Twi-Con last weekend, where they say they loved the panels and the fan interaction equally.


A group of 14 girls from San Diego set up this cutout cardboard photo op and I couldn’t resist putting my face in it. I know I’m smiling way too much to take Kristen’s place, but how fun is this!

Rob is from Sydney Australia. He flew here just for Twilight, attended TwiCon last weekend, will drive to Phoenix for premiere there. When I asked him how he became a fan, he said he hated it at first. Then he was laid up with an injury at home and got hooked watching a bunch of the movies and read the books that “sealed the deal”. There were several groups announced from New Zealand and Brazil as well.

It’s pretty noisy most of the time, with music blasting and videos projecting on the walls of the adjoining buildings. This final shot is of the huge screen on which repeats of the Breaking Dawn trailer get the most attention, as you can imagine with a 2-story high Edward or Jacob face.


I spent a lot of time on the freeways last weekend. My favorite license plate was FYERFLY on the way to SD ComicCon. BRAIN WV was a close second. And Honors go to a sighting in Newport Beach of IMDB ME. Oh, you ironic Californians ….


Knitting content: Had a great time at Knit Night last night and made more progress on my POA Gryffindor Scarf.


Hermione’s Bag is Bigger on the Inside


Today was a bad day (the word “mice” was involved) except for the shining moment when this Hermione’s Beaded Bag arrived from the Noble Collection. Having a bag that “is bigger on the inside” allows my geek worlds to collide in a satisfying manner. Non-geeks, please google TARDIS.