Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update 3: Indy Day Trip

Many of you will remember that last month I blogged about a taking a field trip gone wrong with the sixth graders I taught during practicum.  Well, the Indiana State Museum got the opportunity to redeem itself in my memory as of yesterday!

Kyle and I went to Indy with my grandparents and cousin to visit the museum and, more specifically, to see the Titanic exhibit that has been there since September.  I was pretty excited because I didn't get the opportunity to see the exhibit when I was there the first time.  It was amazing!  There were so many neat artifacts available for us to see and everyone was given a "ticket" at the entrance that gave details of a passenger that we were to become while touring.  At the end of the exhibit, we could check a list of survivors to see if we lived or not.  Since I was a first class woman, I knew I had pretty good odds and I made it, of course.  Poor Grandpa died.  He did have a heroic quote on the wall of the exhibit, though, informing his "wife" to get in the lifeboat because it was her last chance of survival.  Such a great guy :)

We couldn't take any pictures from the Titanic exhibit, but we were able to get some from the rest of the museum.  Some are of questionable quality, though, because flash wasn't allowed.  Below is the reconstructed mouth of a mastodon.  They were able to build it using information from teeth and tusks and bones found in Indiana fields.  


Indian arrows!  These aren't the real thing, either, but are reconstructed to look like them.  There weren't any real Indian artifacts in the museum after 1990 because of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act that required federal agencies or institutions that receive federal funding (like, ahem, the Indiana State Museum) to return cultural items and remains to Native American tribes.  While I was sad that I didn't get to see any real artifacts from Native Americans, I'm glad they were returned.  I'm sort of a little obsessed with respecting Native American culture, so that's okay.


This is a real-life dentist chair from several decades ago.  My grandma maintained that this is why she was afraid to go to the dentist when she was young!

 This Shirley Temple doll was in the culture exhibit from the thirties and was owned by a little girl from Monroe, Indiana.  Small world...my grandpa knew the doll's owner!


And my personal favorite...everyone thinks Portland is a measly no-man's-land, but check out what Elwood Haynes did for the community!  PS--he was so awesome that we named an elementary school after him :)


All in all, a lot more fun than when I went during the field trip.  Afterwards, we went to Cracker Barrel and had some delicious food.  We came home exhausted!  It was a lot of walking, a lot of reading, a lot of driving, and a lot of eating!



Update 2: Christmas Preparation

I know it's a little bit past Christmas, but there were so many things going on that I didn't get the chance to update about our Christmas plans/happenings!  First of all, the best part about being newly married and celebrating your first Christmas together is that you get to create all of these new, fun things to do that will eventually be traditions in the family.  So, we decided to begin some traditions of our own!  

The Sunday after Thanksgiving (the first Sunday of the Christmas season!) will always be devoted to decorating the house for Christmas!



We spoil our cat--he has his own stocking!





The second Sunday of the Christmas season (which is the first Sunday in December) will be set aside for watching Christmas movies and the Christmas broadcast put on by our church.  The prophet and his counselors always give us uplifting Christmas messages to keep in mind for the whole month!

The Sunday after that is reserved for Christmas cards:



We sent out a lot!  Kyle even personalized the one to his friend Zach and added some "Christmas" drawings from a TV show they watched when they were teenagers:




The week before Christmas is time for making cookies!  Our cookies turned out to be...interesting.  They were tasty, but the process was a little too long for my liking and since I'm not really a fan of sugar cookies to begin with, we probably won't do these again.  I meant to decorate them all nice, but by that point I was too annoyed, so Kyle took it upon himself to make the icing (breaking my mixer in the process) and glob it on the cookies.  




I was so sick of cookies after that night that I didn't even eat any!  So poor Kyle took a calorie bullet for me and enjoyed them all.  Kyle did most of the wrapping this year, and Tiger helped.  He did a lot better around our Christmas tree this year than last, so we're hopeful that next year we'll see even less interaction between him and the tree.




My parents had their Christmas celebration early so that everyone was sure to come.  They got Tiger a mouse and he loved it!  It had been awhile since he'd gotten a new toy.  He even slept with this one!  Once we brought home the toy seal that Gary and Michele had gotten him and given him the mini-mice from his stocking, he didn't know what to do!


For Christmas Eve, we spent the whole evening watching epic movies (this year the extended Lord of the Rings movies), read scriptures about the birth of Christ, made some homemade pretzels, and drank some sparkling grape juice in our fancy glasses.  We had a lot of fun.  On Christmas morning, we had biscuits and bacon and videotaped the opening of stockings and presents.  We spent a lot of time with family around the holidays, and it was so much fun!

More updates and pictures to come!

Update 1: Bookbinding

This past semester I took a senior seminar class that included writing a manifesto and binding it in my own book.  As part of the course, we learned how to bind books from basic materials--paper, glue, thread, chipboard, etc.  It was quite a learning experience!  I started out binding using some different techniques I used in class but ended up liking two of them the best.  These are displayed below:


 This type of book has a case binding.  That means that the book is sort of encased by its cover.  It's very a very traditional hardback book with a spine.


 A little bit about the text:  I wrote my manifesto in dialogue-form and really wanted to explore the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.  I know a lot of stay-at-home mothers and would really like to become one myself when the time comes.  Outside of my friends, though, I've gotten a lot of criticism for wanting this because I'm college-educated and have the ability to earn a salary (and why would I ever want to demean myself to simply staying at home and taking care of my kids when women have rights now?).  So I wrote these two dialogues in attempts to mimic the technique used by Plato in his writings called The Republic.


This technique used by Plato involves two characters for every scenario (one of which is usually Plato himself).  In the scenario, Plato tries to persuade the other by soliciting answers to thought-provoking questions.  The point is that Plato will convince his friend of the truth without ever actually forcing him to believe it (or coming right out and saying it), and the friend arrives at Plato's conclusion on his own accord.  The dialogue in my books is between a mother and her daughter (in volume one the daughter is six and in volume two she is seventeen).  The problem?  The daughter wants to be a stay-at-home mom, just the mother herself is (or was, in the case of the seventeen-year-old).  So, this being said, the daughter doesn't understand why she should go to college to get an education if she doesn't necessarily need one to be a mom.  The mother then attempts to persuade her daughter that it is actually a very wise decision to go to college before becoming a wife or mother because she could use her education to be a better parent.  In my books, the mother is a teacher and she and her daughter discuss how her decision to become such has made her a better-informed, more patient, and loving parent than she would have been without the degree.
 

I bound the two volumes together but wanted to make sure that everyone got the idea that they were supposed to be two separate books (and two separate conversations not necessarily between the same mother and daughter).  So I did what magazines do and bound them upside-down from each other!  I felt it was quite effective.  I didn't do as well on the project as I had hoped, but I was very proud of my work!


For my project, I used a program called InDesign to get the text on the inside so that when I folded my pages the text was in the appropriate order.  It's a lot easier to bind blank pages, though!  The other book pictured here is one that I did for my sister-in-law for Christmas.  It's a lot bigger than my miniature books for class and has room for her to paste 5'x7' pictures inside and write captions with them.  It's still a hardback book but the binding is exposed.  I threaded beads on the binding to make it a little prettier and to really showcase the NMU's school colors:


It only took me several hours to do this ;)



And the best thing of all?  She loved it!  I'm so glad.  Otherwise, I would have probably taken it back and kept it for myself!  Hopefully she'll have some fun scrapbooking in it!


I've done some other books, but they're not as good of quality because they were some of the first I've done, so I didn't post pics of those :)  But I'm teaching the Young Women on at Mutual next Wednesday how to bind books, so hopefully I'll get some more practice in before then!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Changes.

There were a lot of good messages today at church.  It made me start thinking about becoming a better person.  I'd really like to give it a shot, and since Christmas and the New Year is coming, what better time to start?

Here are a few of my goals:

I'd like to spend more time with Kyle building up our little family's spiritual reservoir.  

I'd like to spend more time with both of our families.

I'd like to take the time to pray more sincerely than ever before at every possible moment--in the morning, before bed, before meals, before preparing lessons (and not just church lessons...lessons for my 7th and 9th graders next semester as well).

I'd like to enjoy the scriptures and take more interest in studying them.

I'd like to be sure that my visiting teaching isn't just "done" every month--a connection is a lot more valuable than just a contact!

I'd like to ensure that we figure out a better schedule for paying our tithing! 

I'd like to get rid of the clutter in my mind.  I don't know how to be specific, but I'm sure all of you know what I'm talking about.  The judgemental clutter.  The worry clutter.  Drama clutter.  Tiredness clutter.  Any mental baggage that I don't need in order to better love my Savior, my husband, my family, my students, etc...I just need to throw it out!

I'd like to visit the temple more often (because you can never go too many times).

There are so many other things, of course, but these are just a few that I've been pondering lately and I feel impressed to take care of.  I'm going to try so much harder and learn to love a lot better :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Ending and a Beginning

So this week brought about one new beginning.

The beginning of break!  I'm pretty excited about it.  Our finals are finally done and we're pretty confident about them.  I managed to not have a meltdown and didn't even have to pull an all-nighter (thank goodness) and Kyle only had to pull one!  He finished his senior seminar paper and we're mighty proud of it.  It's 112 pages long!  Possibly the longest paper written by anyone I know.  He worked so hard on it and it's such a good paper.  I love love love my smartypants hubsand!

Also, there was an ending.

It was the end of my computer's life.  It happened on Wednesday night while I was typing out some 500 word essays for my Brit Lit final (which was Friday).  My computer wasn't responding and I had the color wheel of death, so I force-quitted everything and when I tried to restart my computer, all I could get was a blinking file with a question mark (sounds ominous, huh?) and a terrible grinding noise from inside my laptop.  

It's sort of like I knew it happened before I really knew for sure.  Kyle was out returning some things to the library.  You might think it's ridiculous, but I sat there and cried silently while watching the blinking file until he came home.  Maybe I was just emotionally touchy because it was a stressful finals week and super-late at night, but I felt as if I'd lost a friend who'd been with me since the summer before I began school.  I'd written every single paper and completed every single project on that computer.  I'd taken it to almost every single class every single day of my college career.  My backpack was heavy because of the computer.  I'd done my genealogy using that computer, and I began my relationship with Kyle through that computer.  I researched the church during my investigation on that computer.  I knew it had to happen someday, obviously, but I supposed that I would be super mad because I would have lost so many files.  Now that my semester is over and I'm never going to write another paper or do another project again (because I'll be student teaching and then graduating), I didn't react that way. 

I'm thankful that it didn't happen any earlier, though.  I still lost a lot of things.  Sure, there were powerpoints and chapter reviews that I no longer need, but I lost some of my pictures that I didn't post on facebook.  I lost the music that I'd collected over the last 3 and 1/2 years.  It's not like these things will tear me up, but it's still a little sad.  I'm going to chat with one more person, I think, about whether or not anything can be retrieved from the computer, but I doubt it.

So now we're going to get a desktop computer.  I don't want another laptop.  I couldn't ever get one that I'd like as much.  Laptops are for staying up late and working on papers.  Laptops are for facebooking and surfing the net while your prof is lecturing.  Laptops are for watching movies on because you don't have a TV.  Laptops are for college students.  And even though I'm graduating, I just don't feel like a college student anymore.  I'm not going to be doing those things anymore.  So no more laptops.  

Maybe this isn't about the laptop afterall.  Maybe this is about me being a little surprised that I no longer have classes or papers or projects or lectures or...well you get the idea.  It's just a little surreal.

I'm at peace with it, though.  RIP Mac laptop and old college life.  It's been fun while it lasted!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Thoughts on Bond.

So I know I haven't been posting too much lately.  We've been awfully busy with the last week of classes and now finals...scrapping everything together and getting it all turned in.  We're very excited for the next three weeks!  Today I had two finals and Kyle had one.  After we got home, we decided to take a little break before going back to the grind for tomorrow.  We took a nap, made a breakfast pizza, and watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service (a James Bond movie). 

Let me just say to all of you...there are currently twenty-two (official) Bond movies.  You should make it a goal to watch all of them.  Or if not all of them, at least several of them, and definitely one from each of the men that played Bond.  I actually quite like all of the men as Bond...except for Roger Moore...and I'm not too much of a fan of Timothy Dalton.  All six of them are good for their own reasons (from left to right starting at the top):



1) Sean Connery was the first and original James Bond and in five official (and one unofficial) Bond movie.  In my opinion, Sean Connery is the real and true James Bond.  Definitely the best.

2) George Lazenby only did one Bond film, but it was absolutely remarkable (this one was the one we watched today--On Her Majesty's Secret Service).  Nobody liked him though at the time because he was replacing Sean Connery...who everyone thought shouldn't be replaced.  Which was too bad for George, because he should have done more films.  He was a great Bond.

3) Roger Moore made seven Bond films, and he was a hokey and goofy Bond.  Not at all cool, in my opinion.  Plus he was super old, so it's not even believable.  Roger Moore = ew.

4) Timothy Dalton did two Bond films in the 80's.  They were good films, but I just didn't like him as Bond.  They were....too action-y for my taste.  Typically the Bond movies do have some romance or wooing involved, and these two had less of it.  And, although that's not a bad thing necessarily, that's just not Bond.  We watched a documentary on the Bond girls some time ago, and the Bond girls in the Timothy Dalton movies discussed this point.  They concluded it was because AIDs was a super big deal at the time, and the movie people didn't want Bond to look completely irresponsible contracting something like that.

5) Pierce Brosnan.  Oh, Pierce.  He was the first Bond I'd ever seen, and he'll always hold a special place in my heart for that.  Pierce made James Bond look good.  I like Pierce.  He had the best gadgets, too, in my opinion, although some of them got pretty ridiculous and unbelievable at the end of his time as Bond...

6) Daniel Craig....ooooooooooh.  He's a cutie!  And the first blonde Bond!  I like Daniel Craig because he's a super tough and believable James Bond.  And the plots of the two movies he's done leave nothing to be desired.  These movies don't have any gadgets, though, so if that's something you like...sorry!  Casino Royale is one of my favorite Bond movies!  It has a sad ending, just like On Her Majesty's Secret Service

So there are my thoughts on James Bond, in a nutshell.  Check out the ending of the one we watched today...super sad :(




Also, I still have more to blog about (just no time!).  I'll have to post pictures of the books I've bound for class as well as our Christmas decorations! 

To be continued....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthday week.

So it was my birthday on Thursday, and I did a little celebrating gradually throughout the week because I knew that my actual birthday wasn't going to shape up to expectations.  How did I know this?  My syllabi informed my planner :(  I never really thought of it this way, but for the last three years it's really been a bummer to have a birthday so close to finals.  It's really a shame that I was born in the first week of December...why didn't my parents do some better planning around March of 1988, huh?!  Actually, next year it won't even matter so oh well.

But I knew I'd have this HUGE project due on the 3rd and I'd be up all night long on the 1st and 2nd working on it, meaning my birthday would be a day that I would hardly be able to stay awake.  I had to get up early to teach, and that didn't go too well, either, because I had some discipline issues that I had to work out with a student.  Then I had class (which I ended up skipping, thankfully) and work.  No, I couldn't even have the day off work.  I only get two days off work a month that I can choose and I decided to not be selfish and use one day to have Christmas with my side of the family and the other on my anniversary because my horrible husband blackmailed me by dangling an expensive dinner date in front of my face.  Jeez!

So I bought doughnuts for myself on Wednesday.  Lovely, lemon-filled doughnuts.  Six of them.  For $1.50.  And I had three and gave the others to Kyle, who complained the whole time he ate them, hahaha.  We're on this healthy diet, you see, and he was so dedicated to helping me stick to the diet that he offered to take three "fat bullets" for me.  Better for me in the long run, he says.  Yeah, I bet the doughnuts were pure torture.

On Thursday my sister did the dishes, though.  And Kyle made me two little mini-pizzas on flat pita bread for dinner after work.  And then on Friday, we went out to Texas Roadhouse and we got dinner AND a blooming onion (we don't usually indulge in appetizers)!  Then to see the Harry Potter movie, which was quite good, in case you were wondering.  

Then I came home and fell right to sleep.  And I continued to sleep like a rock until about 7 this morning, and my internal alarm clock prodded me awake and I thought I was late to teach.  But no such thing.  Saturdays are glorious!

I guess some people make A Huge Deal about their birthdays and think they're entitled to everything on that one specific day.  I prefer to compromise a little, be a bit more realistic, and have small splurges throughout the week to make up for it.  It's so much better that way!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How many ways could a field trip go wrong? Let me count the ways...

So today I went back to the Middle School to accompany my former students on a field trip.  We went to the State House specifically to see the Titanic exhibit, and I was so excited for two reasons:  (a) I've been obsessed with Titanic basically since the movie came out and have wanted to go see the actual ship for ages (but since this obviously isn't possible, I decided to settle on seeing artifacts from the ship and I think that counts instead), and (b) I didn't have to go to any of my classes today since I was chaperoning a field trip instead.  It was really good to go back to the Middle School--all my students were really excited to see me, which is a nice change from high school.

So, I envisioned this amazing trip that would be a total blast.  But it went wrong in almost every way possible.  Let me recount quickly what happened:

1) Our bus was supposed to board at 7:55 and leave at 8 AM.  We got a phone call at 7:50 saying that our buses wouldn't be able to be at the school until 8:30-8:40.  Frustrating.

2) It took 15 minutes to board the buses because we only had two buses for like 120+ kids and all the chaperons.  Every seat was three people deep, including the adults. 

3) We had to stop in Anderson because a kid puked on the other bus.  So we stopped at a gas station so that some of the teachers could get the kids off the bus and clean up the vomit while one of the other teachers took the sick student to the restroom to get him cleaned up. 

4) While we were stopped in Anderson, we got a phone call from the school saying that one of the students who was supposed to stay behind was missing.  It turns out that this student got grounded before the trip, so his father called into school and told the teachers not to allow him to go to Indy with us.  The student decided that this obviously wasn't fair, so he snuck out of his homeroom (next door to ours) and into our homeroom to get a wristband.  The only reason he was able to get away with it is because I wristbanded him and had no idea that he wasn't allowed to go on the trip.  I was given an envelope full of bands and told to put them on all the kids in the classroom--no checklist or anything. So I unwittingly wristbanded the miscreant who caused the uproar...oops.

5) Of course, if there was a student on the bus who wasn't supposed to have a wristband, that meant that we left someone behind who was supposed to have one.  We found out after we returned that the student showed up a few minutes after our buses left.

6) I sat behind an interesting group of boys.  One of the boys had some weird obsession with student teachers and was trying to touch my hair, clothes, and jewelry every chance he got.  I also got invited to live with him and his grandma and when I declined, he promptly asked where I lived so he could come live with me instead.  One of the other students was trying to convince me that society was misinformed concerning the state of life inside prisons and that since in prison you don't have to pay rent or bills or have a job, it was actually a much better place to live.  He didn't believe me when I told him prisoners were a menace to society.  

7) When we finally got to the museum, we couldn't even go into the Titanic exhibit because the museum neglected to inform us that it cost extra.  Three other schools (one of which came from Lafayette!) were turned away as well.  Our funds would have covered the extra cost, but it's sort of impossible to drop another $1,000 the day of a field trip without getting it okayed by your principal first.  
8) When we finally got to the IMAX, the kid sitting next to me puked (different kid this time).  Fortunately for me, he turned to the teacher on his opposite side and hurled all over her.  

9) We were so late in getting back that we arrived only about 5 minutes before school let out when we were supposed to be back 45 minutes before.

All in all, interesting day.  The other teachers agreed that it was the worst field trip they'd ever taken.  I guess it's good that it came early in my teaching career...the trips can only get better then, right?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Made a Student Cry today...

I won't be overly-specific, but here's what happened:

Throughout the class period, one of my students volunteered a lot.  He's always so helpful and sweet and he's constantly thinking of others.  He always volunteers and even when he doesn't know the answer, he tries his best.  

Today after class, I stopped him and told him that I appreciated his comments in class and that I thought he was just a great student.  I told him that I think he's wonderful and just so, so awesome.  He thanked me shyly and I could see him starting to cry.  I didn't want to draw attention to his tears, so I let him go to his next class and told him to have a wonderful day.

I found out from my classroom teacher afterward that this boy has been bullied in other classes and the teachers haven't been too attentive and helpful in stopping it.  She was glad I said something.

Even though I had no idea, I'm glad I said something, too.

If you see someone doing something great or wonderful, tell them!  Even if your comment doesn't make too much of a difference, you never know.  It just might :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mary Poppins

So when my sister and I were younger, we'd watch Mary Poppins like it was the only movie on earth.  My mother reminds us of the headaches we gave her when it's brought up.  I've had three copies of the movie; the first was dubbed, I think, when my sister and I were very young.  Then, the movie was accidentally "lost" after it annoyed my mom too many times (wonder how that happened).  We got a legit VHS copy a few years later, and I still loved it.  My parents own the copy and although I didn't have to watch it like five times a day when I was younger, I still saw it often enough to be able to quote almost the entire movie by heart (all except for those few patches that you don't really understand when you're a kid so you make them up in your head and that's what you remember them to be).

So, I got older, moved out, and life went on without Mary Poppins.  Sad, I know.  My grandma apparently thought it scandalous that a girl who loved Mary Poppins so much as a kid didn't have a copy of her own, so exactly two years ago at Thanksgiving, she bought me the anniversary edition.

I've had the movie sitting around for two years and have been meaning to watch it with Kyle, but we haven't gotten to it.  Sometimes I was in the mood for a different sort of movie, and then when I would bring it up, he would say something like, "Oh, you know how I feel about musicals," or "I watched that movie when I was a kid and thought it was stupid."  Finally I convinced him on Saturday to watch it with me. 

So even though he DID make fun of it a little bit throughout, he overall enjoyed the movie, I think.  I caught more humor now than I did when I was a kid (mostly because we had the subtitles on and I could tell what the characters were really saying as opposed to making up what they were saying in my head) and Kyle's had the "Feed the Birds" song stuck in his head for the past few days.  We talked throughout the movie about how the film played up some common themes in Edwardian and Victorian literature, which is actually quite surprising because P. L. Travers (the author of the Mary Poppins book) didn't set the story in 1910...that was a Disney creation. 

So I suppose Walt Disney borrowed a lot of ideas from Charles Dickens for the movie.  One of these in particular that we saw was that Mrs. Banks was based on a character called Mrs. Pocket from his book Great Expectations.  Of course, Mrs. Pocket was not a suffragette, but she was a mother who was absent for a cause, much like Mrs. Banks is in the movie.  Other similarities to Great Expectations is the Banks' neighbor Admiral Boom who runs his house like a ship...Dickens created a character called the Aged Parent who sets off a cannon at his castle-like home in the morning and evening.  Also similar to Dickens, P. L. Travers named the family after the father's job.  Therefore, Mr. Banks works at a Bank.  In Dickens, Mr. Baker would be a baker, etc.

Kyle was also in amazement at the quality of the special effects of the movie.  We paused quite often so he could explain how they managed to film the characters while in a cartoon, how Mary was able to draw huge items out of her carpetbag, etc.

So all in all, I think we both rather enjoyed watching the movie together.  And something else happened...this time I cried at the end!  Perhaps it has something to do with feeling sorry for children who are neglected by absent parents (which is something I didn't understand when younger) but now "Let's Go Fly a Kite" is my absolute favorite song of the movie.


If you haven't seen Mary Poppins....rent it!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

New outlook (Phil's Plan)

So I've decided that I pretty much hate teaching the way I see it.  Our profs get us all excited about creating stimulating units and awesome lesson plans and when we try it on kids in our little controlled settings things turn out great.  

But then you go to practicum, and you see how real students interact with real teachers in real schools.  So the thing is, yeah, I understand kids are always gonna want to cut corners.  Yeah, high-schoolers will always have this attitude problem and think they know more than you do.  But I hated the other teachers' attitudes.  Like...they didn't care either.  If the students are sleeping, let them sleep.  If they don't want to do their work, it's not the teacher's problem because they have a boring lesson.  Just send the kid away to ISS where the student suddenly has a choice of what to do...sit quietly without causing problems, read a book, or do their work.  No wonder kids want to go to ISS--they have more freedom there than in the classroom!

So what with the other teachers who are as apathetic and lazy and rude as the students as well as schools who don't pay close enough attention to their charges or even follow the law (did you hear about that girl that got raped at Muncie Central during lunch?), I've had it up to here with teaching.  But what I mean is...I've had it up to here teaching it THEIR way.

So my friend Phil heard my woes (and read about them, too) and asked me if I'd like to participate in an experiment he and another colleague/peer/student teacher are working on...and I'm so excited about it!  I think this will help to make the change that classrooms need.  Check it out for yourself:  compromism.weebly.com.  I'm still formulating some thoughts about this, and I'm looking forward to getting together with Phil and/or Luke to discuss it.  I think that as either a parent (present or future), a student (past or present), or even as just a citizen, you SHOULD check this out, evaluate it, and give feedback to them concerning your thoughts on the matter.  

This is real life in real schools in YOUR country, folks.  Let's make it better!

Friday, November 12, 2010

After teaching high school for a week...

...I think I might stick to middle school, at least for a little while.

The students at the high school seem to have a hard time taking me seriously.  I get asked way too many personal questions, I get whistled at in the classroom, and no one does the work or takes their classes seriously.  They are in for a rude awakening after they graduate.

I thought my middle-schoolers acted up from time to time, but I can't fathom even them turning into the students at the high school.  It's a little hard to believe.  

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss the middle school!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Something's gotten into my husband.

Seriously.  

On Friday afternoon, he came home from work, gave me happy kisses and wanted to take me out to a nice dinner.  I had to turn him down because I got called in to work and only got to see him about 30 seconds before I walked out the door.  But, instead of taking me out, he made some yummy lasagna and buttered asparagus for dinner, complete with non-alcoholic wine, wine glasses, candles, and cloth napkins.  He was even wearing a nice outfit and pulled my chair out for me!  Needless to say, I was shocked.  He then talked me into watching a movie and he chose one that I've been wanting to watch with him all month.  Hmmmmmm....that never happens.



Saturday was a busy day as well.  Since Sunday was Thanksgiving at my parents' house, I planned to do some baking after I'd done some homework and gotten back from work.  We also needed to pick up some groceries.  But, when I got home, Kyle had already gotten groceries (he even picked up some makeup that I needed!) and made rice crispies.  Then he offered to give me a massage.  I almost had to pick my jaw up off the floor because when I ask him to rub my back, he always says he will but NEVER gets to it.  And while he's massaging, he casually mentions that he found me a birthday/Christmas present and already had it put away.

We also watched another movie on Saturday.  Another one I've been wanting to watch.  Then yesterday we spent a few hours together with no homework, no work, no other people...just us together.  Then when I freaked out because I'd forgotten to finish my webquest for my sixth-graders this week, he told me to sit down and work on it while he did the dishes and tidied the house.

He's also made plans for Friday to go out to a real dinner (nice restaurant) and we might go to a movie afterwards.  It's my rain-check for last week.

Okay, people.  My husband is a sweetie for sure and he treats me very well, but only sometimes like this, and NEVER in succession!  Kyle rarely plans ahead too far.  I'm wondering by now what's going on.  Is he going to ask for something he thinks I'll say no to?  Has he bought something he believes I'll think is too expensive?  He says he just missed me, but hey, he didn't miss me THAT much last weekend OR the weekend before!  

Very suspicious.  He sort of reminds me of one of those kids who are just average all year long and then the month before Christmas are extra-well-behaved.  I know the past few weeks we've seen very little of each other, but hey, he won't even let me do anything anymore without offering to do it first!  Don't get me wrong, I love it!  But I'm at a loss as to what could possibly be at work here.  I have a lot of friends who have boyfriends and husbands who would never do this for their girlfriends/wives. 

I'll be sure to let you know if the other shoe ever drops....maybe something to do with his Christmas list....


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whip My Hair

Since I began teaching at Wilson, I've become introduced to all the "cool" things that middle-schoolers are doing, listening to, watching, and wearing nowadays.  The most interesting part so far is the music, which is far different than what I would have listened to when I was in middle school.  Remember N'Sync?  Britney Spears?  Puddle of Mud?  Dixie Chicks?  Not at Wilson!  What I get usually comes in the form of "bee-boxin'" (beatboxing) every day during first period from one of the boys in the back row.  Or I get girls dancing in the hallways and I have to remind them of how many minutes they have to get to class (I don't like to just yell at them to stop, although some of my neighbor teachers do).  

Lately a lot of my sixth-grade girls have been singing a song called "Whip My Hair" during their free time (or reading time, or writing time...you get the picture).  So I came home to look it up because I was curious...and it was catchy.  It's by Willow Smith.  Yes, she's the daughter of Will and Jada Pinket Smith.  Yes, she's nine.  But the song is cute and I think it's got a pretty good message, actually.  And is way better than what these kids COULD be listening to.

So anyway, here's a video of Willow singing "Whip My Hair".


PS--most of the adults are confused by the kids' trends.  It's actually very comical.  For example, this week is Red Ribbon Week and the kids are allowed to dress up to a theme on the different days.  Today was '70s day and when we were in the library, one of the old librarians and a plainclothes cop were talking with some of the students what styles were like in the '70s.  The cop called himself an "aspiring hippie" and proclaimed that his hair was halfway down his back.  One of the little girls in my class promptly said, "Well, Mr. ________, imma ax one thang.  Did you whip it?"  And the cop asked, "Whip what?"  And the girl and all her friends broke out in song.  I thought it was quite comical, but the cop really didn't know what was going on...

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Turning Ten

So during one of my methods classes, we did a poetry exercise on this Billy Collins poem.  I have to say that I've read a little of his poetry and I'm becoming quite the fan.  I don't read much contemporary poetry, though (I actually don't read much at all--just what I'm studying in class), so I can't say that I'm an avid reader.

This poem is about turning ten, obviously.


On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun weekend in store? I hope so!

Ahhhh...Friday.  I just love Fridays!  I didn't used to care too much what day it was (this is when I stayed inside all day and had no life), but I've come to discover over the past few years that Fridays are...amazing.

So today my first two classes were cancelled.  Yay!  So now I only have a 3:00 class and work right after until 9:30.  I finished all my assignments for this week just a few seconds ago (with 12 hours to spare!) and now plan to shower and make the bed before I go to class.  Maybe I'll fold a little laundry, too.  And now would be a good time to make that loaf of pumpkin bread that I've been dying to make the past few days....we'll see how much I get done!

Kyle's at work right now and gets off at 4, so it's a bummer we won't get to see each other until tonight, but we've got good plans in store:  dinner, cleaning the house, and probably a movie or something.  We've got a coupon for a redbox near our house, and it would be super awesome if we could rent a Halloween movie.  I love being scared.  Especially when I'm so scared that I can't walk down our hallway alone and Kyle has to come to the bathroom with me so nothing will get me along the way.  He acts like it's an annoying hassle, but I know he thinks it's funny.

And tomorrow is the Dean's List Ceremony (that's always good news in the grades department!) and the best part is that I'll get to sit right by my husband in the crowd.  I hated sitting next to strangers.  It's an awkward thing.  Our parents will come up and maybe we'll go to lunch together.  Then I have a comp camp to go to, and I'm HOME FREE for the rest of the weekend.

Oh and I think we're having the missionaries over for dinner on Sunday.  Maybe I should check on that...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 Eternal Truths of the Gentlemanly Life

From  the book How to Be a Gentleman by John Bridges, and worth repeating.

1.  A gentleman says "please" and "thank you," readily and often.

2.  A gentleman does not disparage the beliefs of others--whether they relate to matters of faith, politics, or sports teams.

3.  A gentleman always carries a handkerchief, and is ready to lend it, especially to a weeping lady, should the need arise.

4.  A gentleman never allows a door to slam in the face of another person--male or female, young or old, absolute stranger or long time best friend.

5.  A gentleman does not make jokes about race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; neither does he find such jokes amusing.

6.  A gentleman knows how to stand in line and how to wait his turn.

7.  A gentleman is always ready to offer a hearty handshake.

8.  A gentleman keeps his leather shoes polished and his fingernails clean.

9.  A gentleman admits when he is wrong.

10. A gentleman does not pick a fight.

A great website that I've found recently is The Art of Manliness.  It's a great source of information for those who believe, like I do, that being manly is not synonymous with being a macho jerk.

-Kyle

Today I yelled...

So for my practicum placement I've been assigned to one middle school and one high school.  I've been to the middle school three days so far, and until today, didn't really see any of the discipline problems.

Today being the last day before the middle school's fall break, however, was ticket day.  Tickets are rewards students collect when they behave well.  When they misbehave or act out, the class does not receive a ticket.  At the end of the month, a ticket cut-off is decided.  If the students meet the ticket requirement, they get to do fun activities in their classes.  If the students did not meet the requirement, they get to do work and boring stuff.  On ticket day, students are given a number between 1 and 6 (because there are six teachers on the team).  They go to the teacher whose number coordinates with theirs and from then on out, the classes rotate so that each teacher sees a group of kids at least once.

So the kids don't know this, but they are assigned numbers based on how many tickets they received.  The kids with the most tickets all receive the same number and move around together throughout the day.  They do super-fun things like have free time and get pizza parties.  Those who got a decent amount of tickets do arts and crafts stuff or watch movies that are only semi-lame.  Those who got virtually no tickets do work and watch super-lame movies.

During the two hours I was at the school today, I got a group of kids who got a decent amount of tickets (we made mini-scarecrows) and another group of kids who got five tickets or less (the cutoff is like twenty). 

Anyway, the second group of students had to watch an awful grammar video today.  It was lame beyond lame.  I actually wanted to shoot the TV.  Thankfully, though, I didn't have to watch it, because I was so busy helping the student teacher maintain control of the classroom.  Students who were tipping their chairs or sleeping had to stand.  We had 3/4 of the class standing at the end of the period.  

I don't need to go into detail of what all happened (I don't want to relive that class period), but I yelled.  I have never yelled at a class before!  Not in all the tutoring I've done, or the help I've given, or the lessons I've taught...never ever ever.  I've raised my voice to get students attention, but I've never had to yell.  I've never even yelled at my husband like that, or my siblings.  Okay, maybe my mom, but whatever.  I really didn't know I had it in me.  I didn't lose my head or anything like that, but I was loud enough to demand respect and control the class. 

Now, before you go off judging me for my actions in the classroom today, I want to ask you to consider what my practicum teacher told us before we went into the schools.  First of all, as teachers, we have been trained not to yell if at all possible.  As parents, other teachers, or even people in the community...you DON'T know what has gone on in that classroom, and you DON'T know how many times these kids have broken the rules, and you DON'T know how it is to have two choice on your hands:  to yell and shatter what self-respect you might have for yourself, or not to yell and deplete any sort of respect the students have for YOUR authority.  It's a tough call.  

So today I told myself that eventually I'd get over it, and I made a choice to throw out what my ideal of myself as a good teacher was and I actually acted like a good teacher.  And, the best part?  I'm already over it.  I think sometimes things like this really do need to happen in order for you to grow...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

1-800-DWARVES

So, the semester has finally set in.  I guess the first five weeks didn't really count.  

Kyle and I are both feeling the stress of Senior Seminar.  What a hateful class.  We're in different sections, and it seems maybe we'd be better suited to be in each other's class instead of our own (but for scheduling reasons, that didn't exactly work out).  He's doing qualitative research on LDS couples who married at a young age, and I'm writing and binding my own manifesto on how being a pre-service teacher has prepared me for motherhood.  I think he's struggling because he hates doing technical stuff like research.  On the flip side, I'm struggling because I haven't got a creative bone in my body and even though I had to take a creative writing course, all I'm good at is academic writing.  Which is boring in an assignment like mine.

So, if nothing else, we're not lacking in support.  My manifesto is due first (tomorrow) and so tonight he and I are going to go through it and he's going to help me make it more....interesting?  Appropriate for the format?  I would have just asked him to write it for me, but he doesn't know too much about teaching OR preparing for motherhood, so I suppose maybe it's a good idea I did the content.  As a result, I'm going to help Kyle with his research.  I don't know how, but I've promised him that I will!  Maybe I get points because I'm the one who suggested the topic? Hmmmm...

We also have a paper that was moved from today to Tuesday.  I only decided what I was doing it on, like, yesterday (before we got the email about the extension), but magically was able to make it appear--completed--today.  Don't even ask me how I did it...I'm not even sure.  I don't remember writing half of it.  I revisited it for editing earlier today though and it's not bad.  Impressive.

I think it's so strange how I'm not someone who does well under pressure (I'd much rather have things ready two weeks ahead of time) but somehow I manage to get everything done?  It's weird to me that sometimes I don't even remember doing assignments but it happens.  Does anyone else feel that way?  I mentioned this to my Brit Lit prof when Kyle asked for an extension on his paper and he joked about getting the number for the seven little dwarves that come to do my homework.

Well, I guess they came again.  Funny thing is that on top of everything else I don't remember, calling them is one!  Must have been sleeping.


 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Let them (listen to) Cake."

So I was on a friend's wall on Facebook and was complaining that she hadn't posted to her blog in 9 months, but then I found this!  Now I'm cheerful again!  My favorite is the black guy, but I also like the psychologist....

Make yourself happy.  Have some Cake :)



Saturday, September 18, 2010

QUIT ASKING ME ABOUT BABIES.


To whom it may concern: 

Today was the LAST DAY that I was polite when someone asked me about when we're having kids.  Please, for your safety, do not ask me about when we're having kids, if I'm pregnant, why we don't have a baby yet, etc.  IT'S RUDE.  If you ask, it means YOU ARE A RUDE PERSON.  I do not care if you're one of my good friends, one of my coworkers, one of my acquaintances, or one of our family members.  I don't care if you're joking or "not trying to hurt my feelings".  It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, and you DO hurt my feelings.  

Maybe we ARE trying but haven't been able to conceive.  

Maybe we don't know if we really want kids at all but we've not come out and said that because everyone WANTS and EXPECTS us to have kids.

Maybe I actually AM pregnant, but I'm just not telling you (and after all this crap, I've decided that if that's the case, I would NOT announce it because most of the people that I know are so rude that they don't deserve to know).

Maybe I've lost one, and you just don't know it (I'm sure that thought makes you feel really good, huh?).

I'm so over trying to explain to people why I don't appear to be pregnant or why there is no child living in our house with us yet.  So back off, because next time, I'll say something that will make you feel awkward and stupid, and you'll definitely wish you hadn't asked.  Do not comment on this post, do not message apologizing or applauding me...I don't care what you have to say.  What's done is done.  I'm going to chalk it up to people being stupid sometimes.

I'm not sorry if I've offended anyone, because you obviously don't care if you offend us.

JUST.  STOP.  ASKING.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Siiiick.

Alright.  It's happened.  Everyone on campus is getting sick, so why not me, huh?  I don't want to be sick.  I hate being sick.  I don't want people to baby me or feel sorry for me...I actually don't like to talk about it if people ask (and I don't like to keep bringing it up and use it as an excuse to get out of housework, which is not unlike someone I live with!). 

So mostly it started on Monday night...I went to work and came home exhausted.  I just chalked it up to allergies and being tired from class and work and no break.  I did my homework and got to bed really late (probably could have avoided that), only to find it worse yesterday.  I was hot and cold, achy, stuffed up, coughing, tired, and miserable.  Again I think work exacerbated it, but I went to bed a little early, took the morning off from practicum, and now am feeling slightly better (at least I feel like I got about the right amount of rest)!

I do have a busy day ahead of me, though...I have to finish about three assignments before class as well as do some baking for tonight's Mutual activity...ugh.  At least I can do it in my pajamas while sort of sitting around.  I kind of count that as relaxing.  And, hey!  Best part?  No work for three days.  Maybe that'll help me clear this up :)