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An Update for you

December 27, 2010

Well.  Where should I begin?

When I last wrote in November, it was before my birthday.  One week before to be precise.  I wrote that I was finally getting used to the chaos that is my life.  And that is true.  I just sort of started rolling with it.  There were days that were more hectic than others, but it didn’t matter.  I just did my usual:  deadline motivation.  That seemed to work all the way through Christmas.

My birthday was also the one year birthday of this here blog.  I pined away wanting to write something that day, but again, it was a crazy day filled with work and kid’s activities.  By the time I was home, I was exhausted.  And, I probably had papers to correct and lesson plans to write.

Photo by Jeff

Just about that time, my students seemed to have a crazy notion that there was a break in the semester.  There was not.  One day I had five students show up for class.  The next day I had seven, but only three that had shown up the day before.  This was right when I began my last chapter in the text-book:  Inference.  It was the only chapter I was looking forward to teach.  They kind of rained on my parade.  So I wrote a little note on my D2L site (online classroom site) throwing a bit of a temper tantrum.  Most showed up the next day.  I really liked teaching inference.  I think it was because I swiped some really good readings from the professional book that I was reading:  Mosaic of Thought by Elin Keene.  Powerful text makes all the difference when you are teaching struggling readers.  And it makes a difference to me too.  If I am moved by the reading, then I will teach so much better than if I think the text is poorly written and boring.  I hope to find powerful readings for all of my chapters next semester, but I also need to be realistic.  Next semester I will be teaching a different course in addition to the one I taught last semester, so I will be figuring things out from scratch again.  So, if you read anything powerful and short and not too hard…think of me!  Send me a link or the text.  I would love to see what you come up with.  It could be an article, an essay, or an excerpt from a book.  Anything really.  A blog post!  A poem.  A quote.  Thanks!

"Franklin Ice Arena" aka: "The Frank" Jeff's new creation in our back yard

When we were done with Chapter 7, we dove into The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Hadden.  If you haven’t read this book you should.  It is so good, and surprising, and suspenseful.  I began by having them watch two videos for homework:  Temple Grandin’s TED talk, and an episode of The World of Jenks.  Both of these videos are about how people live with autism.  The book is about a boy with autism and how he lives his life through extraordinary circumstances.  Most of my students read and enjoyed the book.  I had them answer questions as they read in order to help them determine importance throughout the book.  They also had to write a reflection paper after each assigned reading.  There are some major surprises in the book and it was so fun to see their reactions.  I wish we could read more novels in this course.  I think it made a difference in their reading.  Next semester I will be teaching this course in a night class.  The material will have to be tweaked a bit, but I am hopeful that it will be every bit as much fun as it was this semester.

My students turned out to be such a fun group of people.  I was so skeptical in August.  I didn’t like them.  I was scared of them.  By the end I really enjoyed them.  I will have several of them in the next course next semester.  I am looking forward to that.  I did have to fail some of them.  One gal stopped coming in October.  Two guys stopped coming in November.  And, one guy tried to pass, but didn’t try hard enough.  He was the one I met with and told him he was capable, if he would turn in his work and get good grades on the tests he could make it.  Well.  He didn’t do either.  He is 36.  He thinks that I should have passed him.  He thinks that I told him I would.  Even though I said over and over that professors don’t pass students, or even give students grades, students have to earn their grade.  He just didn’t get it.  I feel bad.  And I have a few nasty emails in my inbox from him, but that is okay.  He would never make it in the next class.

I am reading another professional book right now:  I Read It But I Don’t Get It by Cris Tovani.  I will then dive into my planning for my two courses.  I am “off” until January 7th when we have meetings.  I will also have to get my tree and decorations down and catch up on Laundry.  And, I would like to read a book for fun too.  That may be going a but too far, but a girl can dream, right?

My kid’s school situation was looking really good until last week when the board took out the grandfathering for our school, seemingly to make it “fair” to the rest of the schools that have boundary changes.  No other school is being dismantled, but that is exactly what they are doing to our school.  Everyone must reapply to get in, even though we already went through that process when Sarah was in Kindergarten.  I am sick about it.  And angry.  I know I should write a letter to the board, but I honestly don’t even know what to say.  I think I will come off as some hysterical irrational person.  I know I will have to try.  The final vote on the boundary maps is January 3rd.  I will be at that meeting to be sure.  The whole thing just sucks.  Even if we are selected in the lottery, that doesn’t mean my children’s friends will be.  It gives me a stomach ache.  And, the funny thing is that they didn’t even make changes that matched their objectives.  So why do it in the first place?  Because the ball is already rolling that is why.  Ugh.

On the home front, everything is fine.  The kids are busy and happy.  I am still sick, but hopefully on the mend.  I think it is just a cold now.  I am looking forward to this relaxing week with my kids at home (as I am typing Nicholas is calling Sarah mean because she won’t let him paint.  Which is mean, I might add.  The girls are now making fun of him.  Oh.  Joy.  So relaxing.).

Christmas was awesome.  Relaxing.  Joyful.  Plentiful.  My husband got me a new hat because I lost mine last year, and Franklin ate my earmuffs.  It is so pretty and so soft.  My kids each gave me an Apple Store gift card and a new CD (All three were Trailer Trash, a local band that puts on a “Trashy Little Christmas Show” every year.  I already had two of the CDs but they were all beat up, so now I have all three Christmas CDs and I am so happy!).  I asked for Apple Store gift cards because I am going to buy myself a new laptop for work.  I can’t WAIT!  The kids got new wii games and ds games and art supplies and legos and so much more.  Spoiled they are.  The food was good and the company was great.

Whew!  I think you are all up to date now!

Did I forget something?

Thanks for not giving up on me when I was gone.  I will try to be better.  When I get my lap top, I am sure it will be easier to pop in and write a little…I sure hope so!

  1. December 28, 2010 6:00 am

    I am glad that you ended up liking your students (mostly)…I think that bodes well for how things will continue to go :)

    Your kids look so GROWN-UP now! What lovely family…and your tree is SO pretty!

    Happy happy new year, Megsie! I’m so glad you’re along for this ride. I know how hard it is sometimes is to find time to sit down and thrown some quickly typed updates at the blog. But it’s always worth it, isn’t it? XOXOXO!

    • January 1, 2011 9:07 am

      It is totally worth it! It was one of my good decisions to begin a blog. I love being a part of this community, and I love that the people who read here, also read where I am reading. It is so interconnected. I think it is so special. And YOU are one of the people who keeps me in the circle. So, thank you so much for that. And for all of your wonderful comments and insight and posts. I love that I have made such a great friend from all the way across the WORLD. xo

  2. December 29, 2010 7:44 am

    Love the update. I am so glad you ended up enjoying your class and your students! I need to watch the Temple Grandin talk myself (I adore her).

    I love the ice skating rink! and The Wall. Your kids are lucky to have all that snow for winter fun. Here it is just cold and windy and no fun at all.

    Your tree is so lovely! (And I love the picture of the kids and Jeff decorating it.) I have enjoyed ours so very much this year. Christmas trees just make me happy, overall. Last night I watched the HGTV special on decorating the White House for Christmas – talk about crazy!

    Definitely hoping you get in some YOU reading time. It’s oh so necessary! And I definitely want to hear more from you, always – I know it’s hard to find the words and time to come together, but always I come away happy I took the time, like Liz says. (And I need to do better – my poor, neglected blog would have cobwebs if it could!)

    • January 1, 2011 9:11 am

      I am making an effort to writing more. So, clear out the cobwebs and join me! I am curious about what YOU have been up to as well. But, I will say that your “breaks” from writing gave me permission to take a break when I needed to. And I did need to. I was going crazy. Thank you for that, for making it okay, and knowing that when I came back I would be welcomed.

      Go watch The World of Jenks too. I think it is even better than Temple Grandin’s talk in terms of learning about autism.

      Love to you Sam! xo

  3. December 31, 2010 9:42 am

    lovely family. happy new year!

    • January 1, 2011 9:12 am

      Hi Tricia! Thanks so much! Happy New Year to you, too!

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