Sunday, May 25, 2008


let me know what you think about a "vision" page i just added to the site in preparation for May 3rd's "After School Program Provider Conference." i should probably post our mission statement and stuff sometime too...

good news!

after doing what i was supposed too, my foot feels tons better! I even rode my bike a bit with the kids yesterday and did a bit of running (we are talking 5 miles of biking and 1-2 miles of running, then a quarter mile swim... but its something!)

yesterday at millerton i took up 7 kids, another teacher(miss renfro!) met me there as well as a dad and his son (who goes to a higher-income school and i know him from church.) it was a great time and the first time in a while we got to have the bikes out on hilly terrain. (jose, billy, albert, eric, omar, edna, austin, joseph!).

On tuesday june 3 i will attend a conference for after-school programs and will present a plan to replicate this program at other schools in fresno county... and beyond? phase 1 in "making triathlon accessible to everyone anywhere".

Friday, May 23, 2008

hats off

my hats off to the McLane baseball team - 2008 division 3 valley champions!

- a good week for McLane in the media... the triathlon team last week, the baseball team this week... water polo next fall?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shedding Wait

I spelled the title correctly.

Last week I decided i wouldn't go play Masters Water Polo anymore. After six years, I'm also stepping down as a leader in junior high ministries at my church ( BTSA is done. The swim season is over. Fresno State Triathlon club is over.

For the past nine months, those events have taken up at least 2 hours every Monday-Thursday night. So tonight, free of obligations, I really, really enjoyed!

Oh, and Rainmaker - pretty sure I have Plantar fasciitis. It's been hurting about since my half marathon a couple of weeks ago and tomorrow I'm going to see a specialist in the morning. Bummer. So I lifted some weights tonight and tomorrow if I wake up early enough I'll go for a hard swim.

A question I asked myself today and now ask you:
1) After the past few weeks, I really feel like I'm making a difference. but what do I really feel? What will they remember a year from now?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A few weeks left...


Good things are indeed happening at my high school (I'm trying not to mention the name/geography any more). We got back California Exit Exam results last week and good stuff:
from my department chair:
"Our new 10th grade pass rate is 72%!!!!!
This is only 3% behind E_ HS which has the computech kids, and a full 10% and 11% ahead of F_ High and R_ respectively. I realize a lot of factors can contribute to these variances, but we should all be VERY proud of ourselves and our students. "

when the test first came out a few years ago the average pass rate for our demographics was around 50% (which not coincidentally is the average pass rate for 9th grade algebra... we're working on it!)

- had a nice lake practice Friday for the tri team as the temperature soared to over 100 for officially the first time this weekend... yesterday hit 106 or 107 i think. but it will be back down to the 90's by the end of the week. I know Nevada we got nothing on ya...

I did a cool assessment on Friday where I let them pick how they responded to questions - either they could raise their hand and tell me, they could write it out, they could show it like normal, or they could use pictures. For example, there are plenty of ways to show the pythagorean theorem (which we used as an example of how to use the different modalities)...

- one of the questions i had them do were:
"circles and squares are very different. Why do both have 360 degrees in them?" (they had to show why using perpendicular tangent lines and such...)

some GREAT responses; if I have time i'll scan them in tomorrow but i probably won't. but they showed a lot of maturity in geometrical/proof thinking (so i guess all those two column proofs last semester paid off!) and i couldn't have been happier with some of the things those kids wrote - wow, they understand some stuff!

but it was such a great weekend, with the kids throwing a "surprise" bbq for me on Saturday due to the article and hanging out with my girlfriend all day Sunday I kinda just feel like calling in sick tomorrow! ha ha.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

all three areas...!!!

By all three areas, I mean the three areas of my professional life:

1) Teaching (Math)
2) Water polo
3) Triathlon

Teaching: Last week after a couple days of different word problems involving volume, surface area, and manipulating variables to solve for different things, I too was getting tired. So... after I went to a fantastic conference last WEdnesday night with Alan November, I decided to have my kids make a wikipedia page for our high school, which didn't have one yet! (they allow ones for HS'ers)

it took some classtime and a lot of collaboration, but it is turning out pretty well. Now that we've got the bare-bones, I emailed some other teachers and am hoping to get their students to work on it too.

Math-wise, it was a great project to get them to learn how to better work WITH each other... building off of each others work rather than copying it, etc. And it was fun. Probably a dozen of them came back on Monday and told me they'd shown it to their friends/family... and we think they don't always care about what they do in class!

The page is here:

2) Water Polo started yesterday! We had a handful of kids at the meeting, and about 4 stayed for practice. Good stuff! We're about a week away from being an official USA Water Polo Club which will allow us to expand to Masters, jr high, and the High schoolers (including those from other schools) to enter into tournaments.

3) The follow-up to last year's Fresno Bee article should happen tomorrow! Check and it will be under "sports" and the columnist Marek Warszawkski! He came an interviewed me and the kids yesterday... he'd even dug up an article done in 2005 about my work with the Senior Citizens Village near Fresno Pacific... I mentioned my faith was the motivation so i'll be curious what he puts down.

We've also gotten 3 newly-donated bikes in the past week and a half; always exciting! Took some kids up to Millerton last friday for some SWIMMING and running; good times. This Saturday we're having a little party thing and will soon start training for the Mud Run in June.

Lots of BTSA stuff to do by tomorrow! :-( Could be a Rockstar night!

Monday, May 5, 2008

no standardized tests left!

So last weekend was a milestone of sorts...

After 5 multi-sport races in the last six weekends, I have none now until June! I did a half marathon last weekend and while my time of 2:02 wasn't great/didn't hit my goal, proportionately how many people can say they did a half marathon then hopped in a car and went to another triathlon festival (wildflower)? and i wasn't sore today! Tomorrow morning i may try for six miles, depends on how long it takes for my sheets to get dry/me to get to bed. i may just bust out the sleeping bag cuz i'm getting tired and want to go to bed before 11...

Well Standardized Tests finished last week, as well as the swim season! So without swimming this week I have an extra 15 hours or so which is cool. today i cleaned my apartment, and cooked a great salmon, green pasta, and strawberries(!) dinner with milk. a full meal on a weeknight... probably a first for me! but i also wasted a lot of time...

i was going to take a picture but a type of emergency came up so i had to go. then Triathlon club meeting (for Fresno State) and then home to clean some more and talk to the girlfriend for a bit :-)

Today we did a great problem experiment that went something like this:

Sale price of grain: $10 per cubit ft.
you have a 30x30 plot of land to build a grain silo on. Assume you will sell all of your grain at the maximum price. For this problem, you are only talking about the FIRST year.

You have four options on how to build your silo:
1) Rectangular prism: Cost is $100,000
2) Cylinder: cost is $90,000
3) Cone - 60,000
4) Pyramid: $50,000

(they could have figured out surface area and all that cost stuff, but i wanted this problem to get done in one day.) overall there were some kids that really understand it and were into it - and turned in some GREAT looking papers, but by and large the kids got confused because hey, they had to use their brains and re-frame the problem and do the work, etc... no one was telling them the radius was 15 ft, etc.

I was going to give them bookwork tomorrow (as evidenced on the website, but i think i may give them another performance-based task like that tomorrow. i mean they ahve the formulas already and know how to plug and chug... it's good for them to be confused sometimes!