Sunday, March 18, 2012

Some thoughts teacher evaluations

If there is an equation for teacher effectiveness, I wonder if there is a complementary one for student achievement?

Right now it seems to be a dependent (performance) vs. independent variable (teacher) model. My students are constants of some value, not formally defined. Plug in the value for Ms. Mack and out comes the performance level for her kids. :-/

Last year my students' performance on the state test was :very: high. But did that primarily have to do with me? I don't think so. They were mature, and had test taking stamina. They were very confident in their abilities. I did some preparation with them, but nothing crazy. The tests were also given later in the year.

This year my prediction is that my kids are going to struggle. Again I don't think that I am the primary variable in this equation. By fifth grade students have history of test taking. They have anxiety about it. My students this year really struggle with test stamina, focusing and sitting for periods of time and confidence in their abilities due to past failures.  I try to mitigate all of this, show them their successes, show my belief in them, but they carry all this emotional baggage.

Every year we get such different groups of children with diverse needs and exceptionalities. Yet there doesn't seem to be any accounting for that in the model that I will be evaluated on at the end of this year.

Monday, March 05, 2012

New York State All Stars

On 3/3 I skated with the New York State All Starts against the Pennsylvania All Stars in Salamanca, NY. We lost but it was a great experience to skate with some top level skaters.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bandana Cowl in Jaeger Shetland Aran

Pattern: Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho
Yarn: Shetland Aran, Jaeger
Needles: US 9
Mods: I cast on 87 stitches with one less decrease.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Pattern: Striped Stocking Cap

Years ago I had a BF that really wanted a stocking cap to sleep in. Yes, sleep in. Isn't that odd? I couldn't find a pattern that I liked on the Internetz. They were all so long and I didn't want to get strangled while I was sleeping, so I went about experimenting. I came up with an easy and fast pattern that used up odds and ends of bulky yarn and made a fun hat. See picture for fun factor.

After so long I'm writing this hat up for several reasons. One is that people always ask about it when I wear it. ".Where did I get that hat? ...  Oh, you made it?"  Then "Is there a pattern?" Now I can direct them here.  Another is that this is my tried and true winter hat. It's the hat I leave at school and wear during recess outside in Ithaca that keeps my ears from falling off (last winter that was nearly every day).  Another fantastic reason to share this pattern is that this hat fits on my head no matter what I do to my hair AND covers my ears. Bun? Stretch - NO problem. Pony tail? Slips right over and bounces back into place. Hair down? Hat heaven.  It also never comes off. The cold wind blowing over the hills around Ithaca has nothing on this stocking hat. It's warm, it's snuggly and stays on your head regardless of hairstyle or weather.

What You Need:
  • Odds and ends of bulky weight yarn totaling 95 grams (including pompom) in a combination that pleases you. I used 3 colors of left-over Lamb's Pride Bulky. The yarn that I had the most of (light purple) became the main color.
  • 1 set of US13 DPNs (or hat sized circular). Possibly size 11s as well. Brittanys are easy to find and a joy to knit with.
  • Stitch markers if you wish to use them. I'll put directions for these in parentheses.
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
  • Gauge is 2.5 stitch and 4 rows make 1 inch in stockinette in the round. 
To get rid of the jog when changing colors, simply slip the first stitch as if to purl and knit as indicated in the pattern directions for the rest of the round. This makes an even color join when knitting in the round. Easy, and works like a charm.

Stripy Stocking Hat

Cast on 51 stitches with size 13 needle in the main color (MC). Divide stitches evenly over needles - 17 per needle (If using a circular needle place a marker at the join). Knit 5 rounds. If you're looking for a tighter fit you may want to switch to size 11 needles after the caston to knit this first section of MC (this is my preference when knitting with Baby Grande Alpaca).

Switch to contrasting color 1 (CC1) and knit for 4 rounds.
Switch to MC and knit for 5 rounds.
Switch to contrasting color 2 (CC2) and knit 4 rounds.
Switch to MC and knit 5 rounds.

Switch to CC1 and knit 2 rounds. [If using a circular needle set up with markers on this last row: K17 place marker (PM), K17 PM, K17 and you come to the end of the round with a marker already there. If not, place one now. ]

Begin Gradual Decrease of Hat Circumference 

DPNs: All decreasing rounds follow this pattern: Knit until last 3 stitches on needle, K2Tog, Knit 1.

Circular: All decreasing rounds follow this pattern: Knit until last 3 stitches before marker, K2Tog, Knit 1. Why do it this way? Knitting one stitch after the decrease on the third K2Tog makes for a nice join when you slip the first stitch in a color change. 

Still in CC1
Round (R) 1: decrease (48 stitches)
R2: knit all stitches.

Change to MC
R3: decrease (45 stitches)
R4: knit all stitches.
R5: decrease (42 stitches)
R6: knit all stitches.
R7: decrease (39 stitches)

Change to CC2
R8: knit all stitches.
R9: decrease ( 36 stitches)
R10: knit all stitches.
R11: decrease (33 stitches)

Change to MC
R12: knit all stitches.
R13: decrease (30 stitches)
R14:knit all stitches.
R15: decrease (27 stitches)
R16: knit all stitches.

Change to CC1
R17: decrease (24 stitches)
R18: knit all stitches.
R19: decrease (21 stitches)
R20: knit all stitches.

Change to MC
R21: decrease (18 stitches)
R22: knit all stitches.
R23: decrease (15 stitches)
R24: knit all stitches.
R25: decrease (12 stitches)

Change to CC2
R26: knit all stitches.
R27: decrease (9 stitches)

Still in CC2 Put down the 4th DPN. Take the third needle (the one you just finished knitting) and K2Tog on 1st needle. Divide the remaining 8 stitches evenly onto needles 1 and 3 from needle 2. (if using circular needle K2Tog and separate the remaining 8 stitches evenly onto two needle points for Kitchener stitch.)

Kitchener the remaining 8 stitches together.  (I'm a Kitchener fiend and so I like to do it at every available opportunity. It just looks so nice. You should try it, too, especially if you haven't before. This is the PERFECT opportunity to practice: the pompom will cover up any imperfections that might crop up into your work. 

Pull yarn through last loop and weave in ends. 

Make one foofy pompom to sew onto end. 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Orange Bandana Cowl

I saw this Bandana Cowl Pattern On Ravelry and thought it would be an excellent accessory. At first glance it seems like it might be a boring knit, but there's a ton of short rows hidden in this cowl. I've been wanting to revisit this technique for ages. I dug into my stash to see if I could come up with a doable yarn. I've had two balls of Cleckheaton Merino yarn for forever and I haven’t had any ideas what to do with it. I always thought it would make a nice hat,but I think this turned out better. 

Yarn: Cleckheaton Merino Supreme (washable), 2 balls
Needle: US 9 hat sized circular

The short row tutorial linked in the pattern is awesome. I’ll never be confused over picking up a wrapped stitch again. :-)
As I knit the fabric felt a little tight and I was worried that it wouldn't drape or fold. 
Mods: I did short rows until there were 9 stitches left between the wrapped stitches. I’m trying to make sure I have enough yarn to complete. I knit 4 decreasing rounds but left off the last two knit rounds as I’m thought I might run out of yarn.
I bound off with a regular purl 2 slip one over, but it’s very loose and so the top just curls right over! Hopefully blocking can fix this.
Reflection on the knit: I got a little unhappy with this knit about half-way through when I noticed how pointy the end was (there seems to be lots of mods for this on Ravelry). Then looking at it as I knit I wondered about the final product. It didn’t seem like it would look nice on. Surprisingly - and even with the curled over top edge - it looks great on and I think I can give it away as a gift.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Dry-Erase LOLCat Posters By My Students

I in your basket you has no food. 

(ha ha ha)

(Do I has solo)

(I is guilty)

Welcome Prizners

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


 I love that the sweater my friend is wearing is the EXACT color as the cowl.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Wurm Cowl

Gift for a friend. I bought the yarn ( Knit Picks Capra) a while ago with this person in mind. She loves yellow and she loves soft.  I've been looking for a pattern but nothing really inspired me until I saw a cowl made from the Wurm pattern. Visible on Ravelry here. The colorway of Frank Ochre is close to mine and I thought, "Wow, that looks warm and so very Yellow. D would love that!" Caston! Four days and 16 hours later (slow poke knitter that I am) it's done and just as warm and lovely as I thought it would be. Now to gift it and take a picture with the recipient!

Yarn: Nearly 3 skeins of Knit Picks Capra in Honey
Needles: US 7, bamboo circulars

Caston: 200 st -  I didn't even think of doing something fancy, just a longtail here.
Castoff: I Put a littile more thought into this and did a stretchy lace castoff.

I knit 8 repeats of the pattern suggested by CatReading (5 Purl, 4 knit rounds beginning and ending with 3 round of garter.)

Finished dimensions:
L: 25"
W: ~5"

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Season 2 in Photos: Part 2

Vs. Philly Independence Dolls
Empire Skate Showdown 2 MVP for the SufferJets!!!!
ESS 2: vs. Assault City
ESS2: vs. Wall Street Traitors

Season 2 in Photos: Part 1

Vs. Rideau Valley
Vs. Roc City
At RollerCon
Vs. Buffalo
Vs. Pittsburg
Ithaca Festival Parade
Vs. Wall Street Traitors
By Lauren Comley
Vs. Les Sexpos
Vs. Pioneer Valley