Saturday, March 28, 2015

Beginnings -- SOL Day 28


Today my youngest went on his very first Boy Scout outing. They took a day hike through Valley Forge.

Last night we spent a feverish hour or so making sure he had everything he needed. We went through the items on the emailed list and laid it all out on the table one by one.

Jared's first Boy Scout event - prepping for the Valley Forge hike!Daypack found?  -- Check
Camelback bladder? -- Check
Compass? -- Check

Brand new, spotless Boy Scout book so he can get signatures for the things he'll complete? -- Check!

Wait! We need to make a first aid kit so he can get checked off the list?
-- umm.... *digging through random medicine cabinets to locate all the items* -- Check!










His older brother walked by occasionally and chuckled. As an "old hand" at this process, he felt like he knew exactly what he had to stash in his pack, and only put a few extra items in under protest.


When I picked them up after the hike today, I knew it had been a success. Both looked wiped out but content. They claim that "almost everyone" whined a lot about how tired they were.... but not MY boys! Here's hoping that they were really as cooperative and enthusiastic about it as they claimed to be.







Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 




Friday, March 27, 2015

Loosening the Reins -- SOL Day 27


My students love to perform.

I've offered a drama unit every single year that I have been in my current job. I don't think there has been any other enrichment unit that students have consistently insisted that I include in our rotation every year.

My students love variety.

So do I. That's one reason why I tend to not offer the same topics more than a few times! Drama, though, gives me the chance to change it up every year. Even though what we DO is the same, the products are completely unique.
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My students love to create. I've learned to let go and let them.

The first few years of drama were fun, but gave me no surprises. I picked the scripts. All of them. I wanted to be sure we had plays that would be just perfect for our audience of first and second graders. Not that my choices were flawless. The first year, one of them was an excerpt from Little Women. Sweet, right? Yeah... the little kids had no idea what was going on. Thankfully, we also had some fun and silly ones to share.

Over the past three years, I have loosened my grip. Over the last few years, I gave the kids the chance to write their own scripts. For my 3rd and 4th graders, I did insist that they create adaptations of picture books. We had fun reading lots of great stories and figuring out how to evaluate which ones would make the best plays. With the same amount of time in our unit, giving the kids the chance to do their own writing meant that we had less time to actually rehearse. It was worth it.

This year's troupe was so much fun. Each group spent the past few weeks tweaking the little bits of "off script" additions to their speaking lines. Sometimes they jumped right over the nonsense line - but they were so gracious and responsive to my suggestions. They wanted to keep adding lines and props and bits and pieces right up until the "curtain" rose.

Today, my most recent group of thespians took the stage. They had silly costumes and numerous cardboard boxes for sets and props. It was marvelous! Some of the groups filled their performance with physical humor and sight gags. These, of course, made the primary grade kids roar with laughter. Others thrived on hysterical little aside lines that made us all chuckle in appreciation. I loved seeing each of my kids shine with their own brand of action and humor. For some of them, this was their first taste of the stage. For others, it was their final curtain call as my dragonlings. They all worked hard, communicated well with their teammates, showed initiative and flexibility, and took the kinds of risks that will serve them well as they move on from my care.

These kids, my friends? These kids are something special.









Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thankful for Who -- SOL Day 26



Today marks a very important date in geek history.

Ten years ago today, Doctor Who came back to the television landscape. While I didn't hop on board the New Who train at that point, I'm so happy that the continuation of Doctor Who was successful.

Every Whovian has a least one Doctor that becomes "their" Doctor. Christopher Eccleston quickly became my Doctor. I've loved Tennant, Smith, and Capaldi. They each brought something amazing to the role - by my first Doctor is embedded in my heart.

This video uses the speech that gave me my first Whovian chills. The other clips are from the entire first season. Join the New Who nation!









Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stylin' -- SOL Day 25


I'm not exactly a fashion maven. I'm the kind of shopper who gives up quickly, and my color matching ability leaves just a bit to be desired. There's a reason my pants are all variations on plain tan or basic black. I'm pretty sure I can match anything with one of those. Do you know if anyone makes Garanimals for Grownups?


UntitledMy "style" runs to geek casual, if I am left to my own devices. I own four pairs of Converse. My lovely Batgirl. Plain white in homage to the 10th Doctor. Red hightops (umm... 10th Doctor AND the librarian in The Archived). Grey pinstriped because... umm... they reminded me of one of the 10th Doctor's suits. I may have a small problem here.












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Yes, I also own multiple pairs of superhero socks to pair with my sneakers or hide under my nicer shoes to give me a secret smile. I have trouble resisting a great new tee-shirt, especially if it features a science fiction character or butt-kicking lady I love. I may have recently purchased both the shirt on the left due to my excitement over the Lady Ghostbusters movie news AND a shirt that is still in the mail that features Agent Carter in her amazing red hat.













My sister takes me shopping whenever I see her. She convinced me to buy a pair of cute brown boots to wear over my skinny jeans. Who knew that jeans were supposed to be tucked INTO boots? I know I had no idea!


UntitledSo if you ever see me sporting a look that isn't all that stylish, just smile and nod. Maybe flash me the Vulcan greeting or tell me that you hope the "Force will be with me".




If I'm staring a bit too intently at something you're wearing, it's because I'm working hard at figuring out some esoteric bit of fashion sense that you were born knowing. How do those infinite scarves work, exactly? Can you wear brown boots with black tights? Where the heck does the blush go?








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When you spot me wearing an outfit that is something YOU would consider wearing, rest assured that I probably didn't pick it out myself. Spare a thought for my patient sister or loving husband, who take the time to lovingly guide me in the ways of adult lady gear.


Hey, look! I figured out that scarf thing!


















Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 






Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hummingbird Thoughts -- SOL Day 24


Blank page
Blank screen

Hummingbird thoughts darting
in and
out

Alighting for
the briefest of
moments.

I reach out
but
my hand returns
empty.

Sit back and
watch the fluttering.

Mind drifting.

Words on page
Words on screen

Not as many as I had planned, but I'll take it.





Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 



Monday, March 23, 2015

The Pocket Perplexity -- SOL Day 23


"What has it got in its pocketses?"

If you are a woman in the typical clothing found in department stores these days, the answer to that is pretty simple: Almost nothing.

I sometimes drift into the men's clothing aisle, especially for shorts. Not only are shorts made for men actually long enough to cover more than just my crotch, but they also come equipped with gloriously roomy pockets. Some of my men's cargo shorts even have enough room to hold a wallet AND a phone!

This is my pocket today. It doesn't even fit my whole hand (and I have tiny Italian hands with stubby fingers). I can just about fit my Fitbit and a lip balm in my pocket and still have room to get my fingers in. Yep, that's it.

Do they think that we enjoy lugging huge bags around to fit our phones?

At least these pants HAVE pockets! I have numerous outfits with zero little nooks for tucking in my stuff. None of my skirts have pockets. None of my dresses have pockets. A few of my cardigans have pockets - but most don't.



It's a conspiracy, I tell you! Guys want to know why we always need a purse? This... this is why.






Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Share the Love -- SOL Day 22


I'm busily putting the finishing touches on some stations for tomorrow's nights "SMART" night at my school. I'm the science advocate this year, so I am responsible for creating activities and centers to celebrate science.


Astronomy was my first love. 

I watched as many of the Space Shuttle launches live in elementary and middle school as I could. While that means that I witnessed the Challenger disaster live (my school had it on the televisions in the hall), the joy and excitement that came from seeing someone launch into space was worth the trauma I experienced that year.
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My very first book review was about an astronomy title.

I have a station where students can view some amazing videos, (some by Lockheed Martin, some by Crash Course Astronomy, and some by NASA's JPL department) do an experiment to create craters, and read some brief information about stars and recent discoveries.





Did I just happen to include photos of Maria Mitchel, Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, and Bobak Ferdowsi? I certainly did!



Two more interactive stations include using a digital microscope and participating in some "mind and body" experiments like the Stroop Test and a Reaction Time test. I also recruited a local land conservation group to come and do some stream and water activities with the kids.


There will also be math, literacy, and art activities at our event tomorrow. Here's hoping for a huge success!






Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 
 


 
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