Break Time

I’m on day three of Winter Break today, and it feels so glorious to be able to sleep in, drink coffee in bed, and take leisurely strolls around the neighborhood. These first few days of break are always filled with hard core lounging, so here’s a quick wrap up of the key chill action that took place last night and today.

Last night, B and I joind our friends Bear and Mallory at a cute little speakeasy style bar in Golden, Colorado callled Golden Moon Speakeasy. This place is so awesome, any feeble attemps to describe it just won’t do it justice. The drinks are named after Lord of the Rings phrases, such as What Has It Got in It’s Pocketses, and they distil their own spirits at a separate locationn nearby. B got a flight of their spirits, and my favorite was the Violette, which is a beautiful lilac colored liquor that is sweet and florally but with a healthy kick (a bottle of it will be in my stocking tomorrow morning, becuase B is a nice guy). I ended up trying out a couple of their cocktails, the “An Unexpected Party” and the “Cloud City”.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning, B and I lounged till late morning, then took a stroll with Bambi over to the Denver Central Market which is a warehouse type market with high end food stalls – similar to the Ferry Building in SF and th Chelsea Markets in NY.  Every major city has at least one of these now. I obviously love them, and I love that this one is within walking distance from our house. Also, the bakery in the market has pudding crossants. I sat outside admireing the street art with the dog while B went in and got our treats.




I made B play photographer on the way over. He was not happy and moaned/groaned the whole time. He does not make a good Instagram Husband at all. Nothing new with the outfit, just a recycle from this day. The bag on the otherhand, is a recent present to myself.  I’m not a bag lady by any means, and most of the time I just put what I need in my coat pockets. Having a little purse like this can be handy though, when the coats can be left at home. It’s the middle of December today (Xmas Eve), and it is 52˚F out right now! Happy holidays everyone!




sunnies: rayban – cardigan and jeans: uniqlo – t shirt and belt: urban outfitters – shoes: adidas – bag: minor history – bracelets: madewell

Peas and Hearts

Intensive week ended, and it’s bittersweet.  Of the all the kids we taught to blog, two have been keeping up with it into the next week post-intensive.  Yay Celeste and Cathy!  The school year is winding down, only 16 days till my kiddos take their Living Environment (biology) regents exam.  Regents exams are a double whammy: kids have to score a 65 or above to graduate, and my performance as a teacher is evaluated based on how many kids pass.  So what happens?  I stress out insanely about getting through all the material and the last few weeks are a mad dash to get through the standards.  Also, I stress out about the kids who are failing the class, which is attributed to a lack of motivation to complete assignments obviously is becasue my curriculum is not engaging enough nor is it rigorous enough.  Since apparently good teachers know, there is a correlation between increased rigor and engagement/buy in.  Seriously, I’d like to see the data for that.  I have my own informal data from my classroom and it shows that the harder I make an assignment, the less the students are motivated to complete it.  I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.  I just don’t know what the answer is.

I’m going off on a depressive tangent here, so I’ll stop and instead write about a shallower topic…clothes!  I’ve love, loved this corduroy pea coat for the past 8 or so years and it’s about to get packed up for the summer.  I love the cut and how the collar pops up when I button it – keeps my long neck shielded from the wind.  peas




glasses: warby parker – coat: super old gap – sweater: old j.crew – jeans: old f21 – shoes: frye

Teens These Days

This week, my friend Genny and I started a blogging intensive.  It started out a bit rough, with heaps of bitching and moaning reluctant energy such as “I wanted the camping intensive” and “this is soooo boring, I’m not coming to school this week”.  Thankfully most, if not all of the negativity has died down (with the help of a few key absences, I’m sad to say).  The kids are blogging away and creating some really great stuff so far!  It really warms my little heart to see such awesomeness come out of them in such a short time.  It’s a bit mind blowing to see how much they are capable of  when they’re given free reign to create whatever it is they are interested in.  We give them such little time in the regular school day to explore and work with these interests in a productive way, as we are all so consumed by the urgency of tests, grades and graduation.  We (teachers) also assume or hope that they have enough direction and/or resources to explore these interests on their own outside of school.  Sometimes we assume correctly and other times, not.

In the past three days, my kids have created blogs about gaming, music, food, fitness, sports and the apocalypse.  Granted, they’re not perfect and they leave much to be desired in terms of grammar and punctuation (along with a bit of misinformation), but it’s a great start.  I can’t wait to see how their blogs evolve over time.  Fingers crossed they keep it up well after this week-long intensive ends!  Check them out here:

Esmerelda, Cathy, Messiah, Timofey, JV, Ulugbek, Nick, Enddy, Erick, Celeste, Jessica, Anna, Nina, Tariq, ClarissaKenny and Brian

I snapped a few pictures of some kiddos working hard and hardly working on the their blogs using (of course).  <old lady rant> Teens these days have it so easy.  When I was their age (’95), we created websites practically from scratch using actual html tags! </old lady rant>

enddy and nick


three amigos

Also, a pic of the teachers, a bit too up close and personal for some.  #selfie…ish



Major thanks to Michelle and B for coming out to expert-talk with the kids about blogging.  They buzzed about it for a bit afterwards and they now quote “we should write how we speak!”  New goal for the kids: land yourself on Freshly Pressed!!

Hi Kids, it’s me

Today marks the day my online teacher life has crashed into my real teacher life  That’s right, I’ve gone public. My students have been all over this blog today, looking at photos and probably not reading any of the text.   All of a sudden I have a jump in my stats — 200+ views! Woot woot, I’m feeling like the popular kid.

Twice a year, for a week, my school switches to “intensives”.  Kids and teachers alike take breaks from regularly scheduled programing to reorganize and regroup into intensives, where they spend all week learning about one thing.  These intensives are usually elective type courses that teachers find personally interesting.  For example, this year, there is a “Woman Warriors” intensive, where young ladies learn all about self esteem,  healthy relationships, self defense and feminine strength.  There is also the “Physixxxx Olympics” intensive where kids are learning by doing all the cool part of physics and engineering – egg drop contest, catapult assembly and rock climbing.  This year is my first year running an intensive and guess what I’ve chosen to teach?  BLOGGING, of course!

The first lesson of the day?  Your online presence and how the Interwebs is public and permanent.  I don’t think I have ever heard so many moans and groans, ever.  Some kids really know how to suck the happiness out of a room with their complaining.  This was, until they finally got in front of their computers with a task:  A Google scavenger hunt on their teachers.  They found this blog.  They found where I went to middle school, my middle name, my father’s name and an old Sea Scouts photo in Scouting magazine.   They also found themselves online, though not as much – I have a 17 year head start on them.

My kids today after googling my name:

I will be posting links to their blogs as they get them going.   On the radar for this coming week: an inspiration trip to Central Park, a tour of tumblr’s HQ and a couple expert speakers.

the teacher uniform

Teachers generally are not known for dressing well.  It’s all about comfort and functionality when you are on your feet all day.  Not to mention sweating like crazy when the sun is shining in the classroom but shivering like a mad woman when it’s overcast, getting white board maker crap all over your face/hands/hair/clothes, and getting boogered on.  Yes, I’ve had to deal with boogers, even at the high school level.

I am not one of those teachers who follow the teacher wardrobe mantra of:

  1. wear loose shapeless clothing
  2. no make-up (well ok, only neutrals)
  3. shoes for comfort over style, all the time
  4. neutral colors so that students focus on you and not your outfit
  5. cover all skin, shoulders and legs included
  6. try look older than you are, to look like you mean business and to prevent from being mistaken as a student
  7. avoid shopping at the same stores as the students

Instead of subscribing to this boring teacher’s uniform, I’ve have:

  1. shown up to class wearing matching sweaters with a student
  2. worn bright lipstick on cloudy boring testing days
  3. regularly wear kitchy funny t-shirts that help illustrate the day’s lesson such as this one.  Also a big fan of this, this and this.

Do all students take me seriously at all times?  Of course not.  Doesn’t matter what you put on in the morning, you will always have those students who don’t take you seriously.  For the most part though, students know that when I mean business, they better mean business too.  I tell them, “this is my serious face” and they hop right in line (just kidding).  If anything, I really believe that my fashion sense (or lack of sense) helps make me more relatable and authentic for my students.  Students from urban areas do not automatically view teachers as authority figures and afford respect.  Teachers have to earn their trust and their respect.  I learned that my second day of teaching.  My personality helps me build relationships with my students.  It’s Bio/Physiology/Health during class time, and nail art, fashion shopping, etc during lunch and after school.

On that same note… student has found this blog so far.  He’s peeked at it once, mentioned it in class and has since completely forgotten about it.  No google searches for Ms Schenck recently  =)

Here are a few outstanding blogs I read (or have read) regularly who are also authored by teachers.   Are there any more out there?

Past the Mission – of course, my lovely fellow teacher!

Complex Cardigans (sadly, recently ended but with a great archive of posts)

Tick Tock Vintage

Academichic (also defunct but with a great archive)