Name: Alice L. Gray

School: Northside High School (Formerly Jefferson Davis)

Subject: Chemistry & Pre-AP Chemistry

Tell us a little bit about you. Things you like outside of school, etc.…

I’m recently married AND recently a homeowner. So right now, besides preparing for school, I’ve been enjoying decorating and settling into my new house with my new husband. We were extremely fortunate to have the wedding before all the shutdowns hit, even though we had to cancel our honeymoon. I love animals – I currently have a cat and 5 chickens, with another cat hopefully coming soon. I also enjoy gardening, but I’m starting over from scratch with this new house. I love to read and continue my education. This summer I’ve been reading books from the American Chemical Society reading list to put a list of my own together for my students. I’m also practicing my Spanish on Duolingo and watching documentaries on Curiosity Stream. I’m also a member of and typically visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science quite frequently, but have stayed away from their usually crowded halls this summer.


Give us an idea of your education passion, can you tell us something of why you chose education…

Part of the reason I wanted to be a teacher is my inherent need to explain everything to anybody who will listen. My dad would always say that if you ask me for the time, I’ll tell you how to build a watch. I also loved school growing up and my favorite teachers left quite the impression. Another reason is I want to be of service and I also want a challenge. There are few positions that serve society like being a teacher, and I don’t have the stomach to be nurse. I don’t need my name in lights, and I don’t need billions of dollars as long as I can say at the end of the day I made a positive impact. However, I would still gladly accept a raise. I teach chemistry because I love science in general, but also because chemistry has the distinct reputation of being hard, unrelatable, and boring. I know that chemistry can be intuitive, it’s at the core of everything we know and love, and it’s fun, interesting, and even beautiful. The challenge of course is to get that across to a bunch of teenagers.


To help you feel better what do you like? Card, Starbucks, candy, prayer, etc.… list as many things as you wish

Plant seeds would be a great way to help me kick off my garden. I hope to start a garden at the school, but I need more experience and practice with a larger variety of plants so I can provide guidance to the students and answer questions. I also find gardening therapeutic. I also enjoy coffee, flowers, fruit, and colorful office supplies like pens. 


To help you with supplies, what items are you wanting?

  • Books! As stated above I’m trying to put together a reading list for my students, but I would love a library of chemistry related books to provide for the students. However, if I’m to assign reading to the students, they would need to take the books home, so I’ll need several copies of each book, probably between 5-8 copies of each since I can have up to 192 kids total (though it’s usually closer to 160). Especially to follow COVID safety measures since they can’t be sharing supplies. Ultimately I have about 30 or so books on my list, but here’s the 10 I picked to get started so I can try it with my pre-ap classes first. Bolded are the ones I don’t have a copy of, the rest I’ve read or I’m currently reading to create my reading assignments (research, report, alternate ending, answering questions). I have a shelf for the books. If I can get even a little closer to my goal
    • Criminal Justice
      • Forensics by David Owen
    • Science Fiction (with good science) for creative writers
      • Sphere by Michael Crichton
    • History/Non-Fiction
      • The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein
      • The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
    • Cosmetics/Household items
      • Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm?: Top Cosmetic Scientists Answer Your Questions about the Lotions, Potions and Other Beauty Products You Use Every Day by Perry Romanowski
    • Culinary arts
      • Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking by Simon Quellen Field
    • Medicine
      • The Case of the Frozen Addicts: How the Solution of a Medical Mystery Revolutionized the Understanding of Parkinson’s Disease by J.W. Langston and J. Palfreman
    • Art
      • Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer and Mary Roach
    • Interesting Facts/Everyday Chemistry
      • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
      • Radar, Hula Hoops, and Playful Pigs: 67 Digestible Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life by Joseph A. Schwarcz

    Ear buds – cheap ones to give to students when they complete Edpuzzle assignments or watch videos linked in my PowerPoints but forgot to bring their own – I can put them in a baggie and label them and keep them in the room but this way they aren’t sharing or listening to the video through speakers. About 30 $1 pairs could last me a whole year easily.

    Sticky Easel Pads – Like the giant sticky post-it notes (but I’m not brand loyal) – I often have students illustrate what they’ve learned.

    Construction paper – We go through this fast, it’s useful for many of our projects. Good for making “books”.

    Colorful cardstock – this also goes fast, any colors, or variety of colors are useful – good for making an element ball or mini “poster”

    Mini spray bottles – to fill with alcohol or diluted bleach for disinfectant

    Reusable wipes – the kind that can be stored in a disinfectant solution for use throughout the day instead of single use wipes, like what some food industry businesses use.

    Colored pencils (160 packs) – since the students can’t share for safety reasons I need about 5x what I have now.

    Black Pens (480)

    Pencils (480)

    Pencil boxes/pencil bags (160) – To separate supplies by student.

    Milk crates (6) – To separate supplies bags/boxes by class period