Background

2/29/08

Quicknotes

Let me preface this with an authentic thank you and appreciation for this opportunity I have been given to attend this conference. This is an amazing experience, and I am learning tremendously, and we only ate dinner. I can't imagine how great tomorrow will be.

Now let me get the sillies out.

For those of you that are anxiously awaiting some blogging about the conference:

1. It's wet outside.
2. Dinner was a little spicy, but we were all so hungry you could just hear the "spice cough" around the room as we shoveled our faces.
3. There were colored spotlights with motion. Like at a concert.
4. I dropped my spoon onto the plate at the most inappropriate moment. CLINK - INK - ink - k.
5. A girl at my table (who I will explain in detail later) fell asleep. Twice. While the former superintendent was speaking.
6. This is for Tree: Former Super. was wearing a red silk scarf tied around her neck in a perfect side-bow. Total Sassy.
7. I got goosebumps when we all stood to say the Pledge of Allegiance .... facing a flag and a video of little ones saying it too. Something about adults and children saying it together... (nevermind the strobe lights in the background).
8. Two words: Door Prizes.
9. Free stuff from school districts around the state with messages like "come work for us, we think you're great." Noticeably absent from the swag merchandise: any sign of my county. I like to think that we're above monogrammed squishy balls... or are we??
10. I was in a suit.
11. Being in a group with four other females, all from different Universities and school districts - and realizing how lucky I am to be in this county, this school, with these colleagues and mentors.

There it is folks, a little bit of a glimpse into what will be an ultra blog about this great event. I will give you all the juice - this is such a great opportunity and I'm sure tomorrow will be even better!

2/28/08

Words of a second grader

Student: "I hope that they call my bus soon, I really have to go to the bathroom."

Me: "______, you can go ahead and go now, you have time."

Student: "No, these (insert shooing hand motion here) bathrooms are full of... (whisper) ...bacteria."

Me: "Oh."

Student: (doing the pee dance in place)

Me: "It looks like an emergency."

Student: "I just can't... the bacteria. I have to wait until I get home."

Me (click click goes the brain): "Do you ever use the bathrooms at school?"

Student: "Oh, no. The bacteria."

2/27/08

Opportunity Assistance

I have been given the opportunity to attend seminars this weekend at a university not-too-far-away. I am assigned to a mentor group with preservice teachers from four other Virginia institutions. Together we will meet, greet, eat, and learn.

I just received an email from my assigned mentor, with an attached list of available seminars. I am torn as to which workshops I should sign up for. I think this is where my more experienced readers may lend a hand, and help me by suggesting what might be the most beneficial topic (keep in mind I will be a first year teacher!!)

List of available workshops.

2/26/08

Quote me

Like heath that in the wilderness
the wild wind whirls away.

Without comment

http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/02/20/louisiana-gets-students-turned-on-to-learning-with-macbooks

Digital Dropbox




I slaved over the unit plan. Minutes, Hours, Days lost to the craft of developing a unit that integrates all core curriculum, technology, and fine arts. Pages and pages of objectives, standards, differentiation, assessment, and procedures.

I am a learner. I carry my project close to me, both physically and emotionally. The opportunity cost of creating this detailed plan involves loved ones, meals, and sleep.

I release the unit. I physically and emotionally have to detach from this, and all projects as I have to turn them in for a grade. Stripped from my clutches. I enter the world of internet space, open the metaphoric storage box, the teachers desk, and plop down my product. I close the drawer, hit send, and take a deep breath.

Without the physical handing in of hard paper, I am having a hard time letting it go. Can't I retract my submission, make some alterations, and resubmit?

I am a student that needs to literally hand in the stapled compilation of words. That is my closure. I'm having trouble adapting to the virtual world of submission.

I need that closure.
I will reboot.

2/22/08

Growing up

Last night I participated in a book club. The same one I have been going to for about a year now. Nevermind that we spend most of the time chatting about non-book-related things. Last night we spent a whole 35 minutes on the book. At the end of book club there were only three of us left. We are always the last three. We hang on to the bitter end, dreading the cold truth that comes with opening the door into the not so warm and cozy outside of bookclub world. One book clubee told another about something super important, sort of crossing the line, but sort of being a good friend. It may or may not have involved a search of public records of a mutual "friend." Low and behold, at a totally inappropriate time of the night, we were calling a strangers house to ask for a non-stranger. We mapquested directions. We googled. We searched, we google-mapped, we searched again. It was a mystery to be solved. And we did.

If all of these fabulous yet often misinterpreted women decided to write a book, I'm sure we'd talk about it for much longer than a measly 35 minutes.

On another note, we have decided to read a classic. A classic that I have little recollection of reading. Tree will be thrilled that I will be refamiliarizing myself with this piece. And I demand a longer conversation about it... in book club or with my school-mates.

2/21/08

Artistic Brilliance

Thank you, Tim.

2/20/08

Classroom at Night

This moment, as I look up at the moon, I wish to be in the classroom. I wish for bundled up students excitedly rushing towards the door, and they burst outside. Looking to the sky, circling around until, alas, they see it. They shout high-pitched "Look at that" and point towards the sky as if we're not already looking in the same direction.

The discussion about colors, position, planets and earth and the moon and sun... the desire to investigate the reasons for such natural beauty. The questions and the brains rolling through cycles of stored knowledge...searching and searching through their own personal databases... then searching and searching through resources to feed the need to know.

The Moon has Koolaid Lips.

* I am still without my precious camera (which is so sad). So I patiently await my artistic genius of a friend to post the lunar eclipse pictures. At that time I will add an image.

2/18/08

Selfish

Awful weekend leads
to scribbling an
Awful paper...

I dream of being
the professor of
my own class.
There would only
be one student.
And that student would
be much more
grateful than I was
when I was in that position.

My rubrics would be
shockingly clear
to those who already
had a purpose.

Those without need not register.

Mini-phone conferences with Silly were the highlight of today. Sorry I didn't update sooner.

2/13/08

Agreement

SillyCorn posted a blog about Intern Appreciation.

I would just like to say that I agree.
I also feel lucky to be in such a supportive group,
and I can't imagine this experience without this specific mix
of A, Big J, Silly, AM, and I.
I consider myself lucky.

Thanks for the post Silly,
...and you are my Joshua.

An 8 year-old Valentine's Day

As an adult, V-day has been a source of angst. No matter what wonderful surprise happens on this day - nothing can live up to my expectations, and while I am not ungrateful, I am usually always disappointed at the end of the day.

I think I have just figured out why.

As I prepare for my first Valentine's Day in my placement, I find myself surrounded by mini-containers of playdoh with stickers on them, and a few too many bags of Hershey Kisses.

Suddenly I am transported back to my elementary years. The years in which a list was sent out to each classmate, and it was required that you write Valentine's for every person on that list - even the one that no one really ever talked to because he ate paste. Every year, as a student, I was showered with dozens of "Will you be mine?" and heart shaped candies, cookies, and cards - and I recipricated with a carefully crafted valentine of my own.

I like to imagine myself as an "It's the thought that counts" type of person. But as I review the evidence that has led me to my current V-Day woes, I realize that nothing in my adult Feb. 14 experience can ever compare to the creation of Valentine's mailboxes, and then seeing them fill up with heart-warming wishes from classmates.

Sharing the love with the people you spend the most time with...

2/12/08

International Fun

Last semester, in my first placement, I began a project. A project that involves around 20 students from my school electronically communicating with around 20 students in another country. Much to my surprise, this simple pen-pal idea has blossomed into a steamroller that is currently pulled over to the side of the road.

Not entirely my fault, there are some legal signatures needed in order to proceed. And those documents need signed by the parents of the students in another country. And they are currently on a 2 week break from school.

As the new arrangement, blackboard, is set up for international communication between these two classes (one blackboard site for both classes, schools, and countries!) the students continue to write back and forth to eachother.

I have to be honest in that I feel a little guilty. I started a project that I knew would have to continue after I left the placement. I set something up that someone else has to finish. I, however, would like to remain as active as possible, but without being in the room I have to just loosen the reigns a tad and back off.

1 step. 2 steps. 3 steps.

This will be great. This set up will be great. The new medium of discussion will open doors for international communication on a whole new level. Curriculum related chats, blogs about experiences, wikipages of resources, collaborations for international projects... the possibilities are endless.

As I meet with the teacher of the class this week about possible leads into discussion, and as we compare curriculum plans, we will be planning discussion board topics to facilitate this cross-communication between classes. We will be determining if there is a project we can set up using both classes that wouldn't be too straining on the teachers and students. We are planning fun.

All of it with objectives. Amazing. Stay tuned.

Fire on the Page

Today in grad class, one of my classmates shared a story about a lesson in her first grade classroom. The students were creating a shape quilt. Each student made a square, and each square contains a family story. The students were directed to use shapes to illustrate their square/family story.

When the intern walked over to a particular student to ask about the shape story, this is what she heard in response:

"This is a picture of my mom, dad, and my dog. This is our house, well once we had to take our dog out to the back of the house because it died, so we started it on fire, we BURNED it, we scraped up the ashes , put it in a vase and then put it on our fireplace.

Here is a circle for my mommy's head, triangles for the fire, and the vase is a triangle too."

Chalk this up to things you're not prepared to hear in a classroom.

2/11/08

Pain in the Neck

Yesterday I woke up with this really awful pain between my shoulders and into my neck. I found it difficult to turn my head completely to either side, and even to lower my head down towards my chest.

Well, call the medic. I just looked it up on webMD, the medical site that the devil himself has set up in order to panic innocent, sick but well enough to search online instead of go to the doctor, types of people. Have a sniffle? It's a mass in your nostril. Have a stomach ache? It's Mad Cow disease. Have a headache and cough? By golly, the Plague is making a comeback.

The fine art of procrastination has led me to this site, in which I enter my symptom:
pain in the neck.
Then I click "search."

What comes up? A video (I dig videos), so I watch. (I am really good at procrastination).
Well, the video has one heck of a hook... I'm convinced it was made just for my eyes. It began with this woman with brown hair (me too!) who looked right at me and told me she was a teacher (ME TOO!) who had shoulder/neck pain (ME TOO!). Turns out this poor woman's neck pain turned into a numb arm (suddenly my arm is tingling... how strange), and a huge hemorrhage into her spinal column (is that blood I feel flowing into my spine?).

*disclaimer: I do not intend to make light of any medical condition that warrants a video on webMD, especially videos featuring a brown-haired teacher with neck pain.

2/10/08

Video Update

For those of you that watched (and some enjoyed) my Punkin' Chunkin' video:

There is a scene in there - the one with the axe and the man holding the axe with a VERY accurate talking bubble above him - remember the one?

Well, I posted that video on youtube.

Go ahead - guess who commented on the video on YouTube.

You guessed it... the Axe Guy.

He said "Awesome video! I'm the guy with the axe! Go Team Chucky!"

Apparently, when they are not building the chunkers, they are googling videos about it.

Once again, nothing to do with education.

First there was happy hour with my super important mentors/co-teachers/friends. In my End-of-the-Day-on-Friday special manner, I was a clutz. Chips missed my mouth, and I was this close to accidentally shoving my straw up my nose instead of in my mouth.* Atleast it wasn't from the margaritas. There was a pile of chips, damp napkins, and salsa drippings crowding my place setting by the time I left.

*This actually occurred to a friend of mine in high school. Long day of tournament play, pizza hut, straw, nose... all the way down to nosebleed and laughing so hard you can't breathe.

Then there was Japanese buffet (not suggested). The best part was the banana crepe that resembled and tasted oddly like strawberries. Greg was so overzealous that he overstuffed himself and his plate. At a Japanese buffet, you do not do such things. While I was in the bathroom the table busser came around to clear the plates. I came back to the table to find my husbands plate cleared, and my previously empty plate half full of food that I surely did not put there. Oh, right, and the dirty looks from the table busser. Apparently Greg thought it would be a good idea to put all of his unwanted food on my plate, so that I would be the one to get the scolding from the busser. I didn't even try to make eye contact as my plate was taken away and the busser muttered what I can only determine to be mildly offensive things about me in Japanese.

Then I went to what they call a "Birthday Party." Apparently, for adult men, this means travelling back in time to a magical world of make believe... where the Oscar goes to Animal House and being in a band means toting around your XBox, complete with drumset, guitars, and microphone, and playing notes off of a TV. There were jello shots and beer. I was one of three females (only 2 of us spoke), surrounded by 20 males that were either IN the band, or played virtual soccer on one of the 2 computers in the living room... You know.. the room where the band was playing. Did I mention the 1/2 working bathroom across from the washing machine and next to the drafty garage door? If my tush could catch a cold, it would have spent all weekend in bed.

I was a good sport. I hung in there.
And by 1:30 in the morning, the band had decided to pack up.
I've never been so happy to leave a concert.

The entire way home I was planning my far more sophisticated evening out for next week...
It involves wine, sleep, and something mildly adult such as playing cranium.

2/6/08

Take Cover! Class time...

I just finished a two week Marathon of Classes. Grad school class, three of them, one a day, all day, for two full weeks. No elementary school. No little friends. No direct contact with CF. (clinical faculty/our classroom teacher/mentor).
I was in close quarters with 26 other soon-to-be-teachers.
Every day. All day. 9ish until 4ish.

We all survived, but not without scars.

I sincerely appreciate teachers with different styles, knowing to the core that there is something to learn from every and all. But get 27 interns in a room, all with developing but still rough designs of their future selves, it becomes more of a showdown. We all become lawyers. Who do we defend? Our CF's. We absorb styles and we regurgitate that information in the form of "Well, my teacher does this," and "Does your CF do this?"

We are very loud.
At some points, we forget there is a professor - who, in some cases, reacts as though they have been thrown into the firepit.
5 hours of discussion, heated discussion, arguments, recovery, shutting down, revamping...
and 2 hours of lecture/activity.

It's all learning.

Stick Ball Spelling

I spend some time tutoring students near my home.
I did not seek out this extra job, and to be honest, I am often paid with baked goods or
lovely artwork from my miniature friends.

This weekend my experience with an eight year old girl began painfully awkward.
Clearly she was not into getting school help. And the stress she was feeling from her parents was beyond overwhelming for her.
She was reluctant, to say the least.
I felt like I was back in my first week on being a Nanny. (This is an entirely different blog-worthy event).
While I feel we didn't go over as much as I would have liked, we did have a chance to review some information for upcoming tests.

As I tried to discuss school, and then had to turn that into hidden school talk... the kind where you are really asking about school but you never mention the words school, class, teacher, or learning... I realized that it was not going to get me very far with this child. But in this painful conversation, I learned that she loved (LOVED) field hockey. She even wants to be a professional field hockey player when she is grown up. What a heartfelt admission she gave.

So.
We went outside, where she had two goals set up in the yard. I had her grab her field hockey sticks, and we batted the ball around for a little while. I have never played field hockey, so she spent some of our time together explaining how I should hit the ball, how to hold the stick, etc.

Eventually... way past my cut off hour... we were "dribbling" the ball down the mini-field, spelling out words and quizzing eachother about social studies. During our spelling field test, we were taking turns spelling words while we dribbled the ball with our stick.

I kept missing, and my ball would go flying past me and I would have to chase after it - which she LOVED. And of course, this really affected my ability to spell words ... since we had the rule to restart the word if we missed the ball.

After my 100th time of chasing down the ball in her HILLY backyard, I arrived back on our field with the ball in hand and the stick in the other. She then informs me:

"You would be a really good speller if you could focus on handling the ball right."

Not surprisingly, she never missed a letter. Or a question.

Goal.
It was the look that
Made me think.
The sudden glimpse
Of truth
Reflected
Back to me.
The crack
In the seal
So carefully
Placed.

2/3/08

Chunkin' Fun

I put this together for a school project, and thought it was lighthearted (read: silly) enough to add. Enjoy.



video