songspinner: (triskelion)
Good things about today: My students and I finished our iMovie film in time to show it for Back-To-School night and it was a hit. (and the kids were adorable and proud and ridiculous, in two languages) I added credits so they could be listed as “co-producers”. Also, on my way home, there were little brown bats taking off against the backdrop of the sunset!

Less than useful things about today: tech issues in my classroom that almost made us unable to finish the project, and the colleague who made nasty anti-Catholic comments to my department head in the staff room at lunch during a political discussion. He’s done that before, with antisemitic, homophobic, and ableist comments. We said if he did it again to either to us, we’d take to the boss, so she did. (after cussing the jerk out in front of half the staff, and I don’t feel sorry for him)
songspinner: (triskelion)
Heya! So many of you know I am a middle-school teacher. This year, I am mentoring a brand-new (1st year) teacher at my grade level. He's excited to get his students interested in reading, and noticed a lot of mine get hooked in with graphic novels and books which have strong representation of their own communities and cultures. We're doing a DonorsChoose fundraiser, and every little bit help. If you can't donate right now (and believe me, we understand), then please repost/blog so that others might see it. Every little bit helps us! The books on our list will be split between our two classrooms. Thank you.
songspinner: (triskelion)
So with the exception of the Marvel announcement, this month has sucked. And then today, one of my colleagues gave me the grade level department's "Awesome Award of Awesomeness" at ur staff meeting. Yeah, it is a recycled trophy with a handwritten title on duct tape. Not the point. The point is she thought of me and wanted to thank me for doing something, made me blush, and feel much better about myself after a few weeks of a lot of self-doubt and stress. And now I get to do that for someone next month...
songspinner: (triskelion)
Open House is done. *thud*. Watching my kids finish their projects this afternoon in my history classes was sort of fun...lots of shrieking, giggling, and problem solving. Only a little whining...

Daughter is sick and trying not to hack up a lung (inhalers are helpful). So no getting to see grandparents this weekend while grandfather is only done with one chemo treatment. Hopefully, she will get well quickly, with no drastic physical response to this virus. (She and I can actually have allergic reactions to viruses)
Immunologist blew us off in an INCREDIBLY rude fashion, even cutting me off while I was asking a question. Sigh. Switching doctors for that, now. At least daughter's pediatrician is really good. On the bright side, a brilliant doctor who's been helping my sister back East will do a phone conference with me soon and refer me to someone not too far away who has lots of experience in diagnosing genetic immune disorders. So back to square one, but at least moving toward square two?
songspinner: (archaeologist boy)
Hey! A quick plug here for my classroom fundraiser to get a shelf of new graphic novels for my seventh grade students...a lot of my reluctant and frustrated readers have been really encouraged and excited reading some of the good ones I've managed to get. Any donations, even small, get doubled through this program, and all are appreciated!
songspinner: (owl family)
The first week of the school year is done and we survived. Whew. And tomorrow
will be two weeks. Some very cool kids so far, and a lot less of the antagonism
and stress compared to last year, and I have been enjoying the good questions they
ask. I already had to do some quick research to answer one..."well, did they have
messenger pigeons in ancient Rome?" The answer, btw, was yes.

My daughter is off to her first day of high school on Tuesday. Enough said.

And a very happy, joyful birthday to [ profile] piratesorka! I hope it was a good one, full of music, friends, and giggles. :)
songspinner: (triskelion)
Just sort of stunned here in Santa Cruz, and yet resigned and angry, too. Not how I want my city to be on CNN. This is the second gun-related deadly crime within several blocks of my house in a year, roughly, and both gunmen had a record of violence and sexual assault. This time, because records are not shared between states in the US, our police force did not know that this man had three guns on the property and that violent history. Would it have prevented the deaths of the two police detectives? I do not know. But we spent the late afternoon and evening behind locked doors, listening to the helicopters circling from our house and watching the news updates. Scary stuff. Our local sheriff's department is being very cool and taking over local patrols while while the SCPD mourns and tries to begin ghte process of recovry.

And this on the heels of a whole series of local, very serious crimes during the past few weeks. And one of our students had a relative killed by a gun last week just after a local teenager was also killed at a local high school event. The phrase "enough already" seems too mild. And for irony, this was at the same time an anti-gun violence rally was about to start downtown...
songspinner: (pomegranate)
Lots of silliness on campus today - a bunch of staff members did a flashmob dance for "Thriller"; in the middle of the costume contest to surprise the kids. They were definitely surprised. And stunned. Teachers dancing?!?!?!? :)

I had, all told, in my classes today: 1 Corpse Bride, 3 angels, 2 rabbits, 2 Red Riding Hoods, 1 football player, one skeleton, 1 Minnie Mouse, and a skateboarding whoopie cushion. Don't ask about that last one...Our geek quartet on the staff consisted of me (see below), one Steampunk explorer, Magneto, and a zombie prom date.

And here's me as Helen Magnus from "Sanctuary"...

click here for picture )
songspinner: (Default)
So today was the culmination for my daughter of two weeks of Celtic Music Camp. They had a concert, and the kids had a sort of orchestra playing all together and some of the older kids, including mine, had solos and duets. She went as a voice student originally, but the teacher in charge wasn't having any of her insecurity and said she was good enough to play basic guitar as well, so she did that class. And for the concert, she played the Bodhran drum for the first time...she's watched me play it her whole life, and got REALLY excited. Figure out all the basics in less than a week and kept near-perfect time in the big pieces, which made me really proud. Guess I know what she's getting for her birthday. :) She also sang a solo in Scots Gaelic! The silly part was that this year, the camp's theme was Vikings, so a lot of the kids and teachers had costumes. One girl I saw even disguised her fiddle bow as a sword! There were sword fights with weapons my friend's boys had made with PVC pipe, foam, duct tape, and paint, and this was a good place for it as it was at a site run by a former physics teacher who built a castle with water cannons and such for kids to play in and around (with catacombs) and a guillotine that was used after the concert to behead a poor watermelon.

A long and pretty good day. 24 hours from now I'll be getting ready for the first day of school.
songspinner: (Default)
Ugh. Alarms and all again and back to school on Monday. I spent today trying to get my classroom ready, and still have to do some stuff at home this weekend before Monday morning. Sigh. An of course it's my classroom tech that's not working properly today, so part of my weekend will be rearranging lesson plans for the first day in case I don't figure it out by then. Excited to meet my kids for this year, though! I sometimes wonder about my school district, classroom budget turned out to be $303...and 3?! How on earth did they get that extra $3?

My daughter's Celtic Music Camp concert to end the two weeks of classes is tomorrow, so that'll be fun. I have to cobble together a Viking costume tonight, as apparently that's the theme for this year's camp. :) And since it's my kid, she wants close to historically accurate.
songspinner: (whoa)
Only 39 days left in the school year to teach the rest of my curriculum. Yikes! But state standardized testing this coming week - bleh. This is why my history class will be treated to "the end of the Middle Ages in Europe - death and destruction"...(no, really - the lesson on the plague, including Pixar's short film from the point of view of the rats)

And a sweet, intelligent girl I taught when she was a 5th grader has been accepted to college today. At my alma mater. Also yikes! Now I feel old. ;)
songspinner: (zonked)
Sorry, couldn't resist the high school choir music joke.

It was darned hard to sleep last night until maybe 1 a.m. when the wind died down to only 30 mph or so. It was up to around 70 mph for several hours straight. Garbage cans were picked up by gusts and smashed into the fence and house, loudly. I know we were lucky not to lose power for more than a couple of minutes early on last night. We're all going to bed early tonight, I think.

Only two trees down on campus when I got to work this morning, but branches and leaves in piles everywhere, we had to keep repeating to the kids that they shouldn't mess with it all. Safety and all that. My language arts tutorial class was studying personification, so we came up with around 20 sentences about the wind... ("the wind played piano on my windows", "the wind howled with anger"...) Lots of tired giggling.
songspinner: (pomegranate)
A three-day weekend. Huh. Far too much to do, and I spent the day off I had curled up reading or watching scifi.

Some days, certain parts of the last three tracks of the original cast soundtrack to "Into the Woods" are frighteningly applicable.

My child is definitely turning into a pre-teen. "But the other girls will all be wearing..." Uh-oh. Definitely a seventh grader.

My sister posted this last night:
"Insomnia + giant freaky spider in the bathroom=unhappy K. On the bright side, took the spider out by myself. ("took out" as in outside, not, like, with an AK.) Girl power." *giggle*
songspinner: (pomegranate)
I'm home today with my sniffling, cold-ridden child. Sent a message to the woman who teaches in the classroom next to mine. We have an understanding that if one of us has a substitute in our room, the other will keep one ear open and one eye on the other teacher's kids. She emailed this back:

My dear neighbour,
I will avenge your honour if need be.
Rest easy, and your offspring as well.
Any rebellion will be crushed by the wrath of
all teacherdom everywhere.

On the down side, these laws up for votes in the next couple of weeks are BLOODY TERRIFYING! It's like someone has a plan to take women in this country back to medieval law, with no rights of any kind. These men who proposed these laws (and apparently there are some female politicians supporting them as well) seem to feel that it's okay to erase the last century of gained rights, from the right to be safe in your home, to the right to be physically safe in a hospital, to the right to choose when to have children. And as the mother of the aforementioned daughter, this is doubly scary. One of the laws up in the House literally has loopholes to allow a hospital or physician to refuse to treat a woman dying if the only option is abortion. EVEN IF SHE'S DYING. There's actual protection for that hospital or person. The only hospital in my town is Catholic, and their staff once refused to help me on the phone when it had to with a "morning after" pill. I can only assume that if I had come to their ER actually bleeding out, they might have considered helping me. (see section 2, part G for the loophole)
songspinner: (Default)
A long day. Mostly good, though. My sniffly family is feeling better today. Chicken soup does in fact work...Jewish penicillin indeed *grin*

I'm proud of my student teacher, working with a small group of students today - designing a lesson and teaching it. She's doing well!

Extremely pleased that DADT is GONE! Also happy that there is some healing going on now of hurts caused by this bigoted, pointless, counterproductive rule. Apparently, various branches of the military will now be changing formal records so that people's futures won't be destroyed.
songspinner: (giggling)
Fun yesterday - Free Comic Books Day! So my daughter and I went downtown and got autographs by comics/graphic novel artists at two Marvel artist and a team of guys from Italy who did a great children's series. The funny part was that some of my students were doing a math competition yesterday and ran into us with their teacher downtown. They all had that "woah- a teacher in her natural habitat" expression, otherwise known as "my teacher has a family and a life?!". Heh...
The boys didn't care about the free comics, but the girls sure did!

Spent the morning gardening, which I can feel in every muscle today. There's a great plant sale every Mothers' Day weekend at a local college, and so we picked up some nice native plants...
songspinner: (grumpy owl)
Whew. Long day.

I had to give my kids a "benchmark" test in history (from the district), which covers material we still have 5 weeks to cover. Riiiiiight... That was a really big waste of a class period. I KNOW they don't know that stuff yet. I haven't finished teaching it.

On the brighter side, the first of the monarch butterflies we are raising emerged from its chrysalis today (in the middle of an assignment, of course...."BUTTERFLY!!!!") and so the class and I went outside after school to release it. It's a boy. (yes, there is a way to tell the difference by looking at the wing patterns) You're never too old to be fascinated by metamorphosis.

Also, I had to take a baby goldfinch (about 2 inches long) to the native wildlife rescue center for birds. Sigh. I keep a kit in my classroom because I'm sort of in charge of that sort of things now, so I hope this one survives. Nature day, apparently.

And a nice sushi dinner with my mom who is in town overnight for a meeting. Sweet.
songspinner: (pomegranate)

Feeling disgustingly domestic this afternoon. I spent my free time on my last day of teaching before spring break sewing (and yes, my students were amused/impressed that I could do that) - a pouch to attach to my belt onstage to carry my drum tippers (the bodhran stick) and a sort of protective pad for my arm so I won't get bruises when I drum in a standing position. Used one of my husband's old t-shirts, so all I had to buy was the upholstery padding and some bits of elastic. Not bad.

Could have done without the smoke from a local warehouse fire this morning - burned the eyes and made us all stay in the building during morning break.

Once this weekend's performances are done, I get most of a week to myself. Husband and daughter are back at school and I'm off for the week, so it'll be nice and quiet. I see a walk on the beach in my future. And some writing and reading. Only a little paper-grading.

Off to get stage-makeup and costuming ready. Rehearsal until 11:30 p.m. Ugh. Now I remember why I didn't go into theatre for a living...


Apr. 5th, 2011 06:48 am
songspinner: (borage/garden)
The dregs of an early spring cold slowly going away...bleh.

Prepping kids for the giant state TEST they take each year. High stakes testing and all that, so a lot of reviewing of the basics in language arts class and me reminding them that if they are bilingual English/Spanish, that might be an advantage with regards to knowing Latin roots of unfamiliar words. Sigh. And still no word yet on our jobs, of course. The district will drag that out.

Kind of having fun with the dance piece I'm drumming and singing for in a few weeks. The director asked me to do some things onstage that involve interacting with the characters, and I haven't done anything like that in a long time. There are some very enthusiastic and creative people involved in this thing, and it's sweet watching the three young women with Down Syndrome who are in one of the groups - they're so caring and so silly.

Well, off to finish my coffee and get ready for school...
songspinner: (pomegranate)
Wandered (as usual when I get to Whole Foods) to the Goodwill bookstore and discovered that someone had brought in boxes of comic books. :) So I called my daughter and suggested she and her father wander by on the way home and meet me...and she ended up with 9 Doctor Who comics. :) 6 from us and she paid us back for 3. Nice.

Had a marvelous time today with this year's history classes doing a "tea party" to review for the test on ancient Japan. Watching some of them follow the directions for proper bowing, try chopsticks for the first time with their classmates' help to pic up edamame (soy) beans, and try green tea (decaf, 'cause I'm not an idiot!) was fun, and then a few of them showed off their origami skills. I think one of the boys just totally impressed a whole passel of girls today!

And it's a good thing some of them volunteered for set up and clean up because my back is a mess and there's no way I could lift things or get down on the floor and then back up. Sigh. X-rays of that shoulder yesterday, so I'll see what happens. And I finally found an anti-inflammatory I can probably take, so it's on its way by mail, darn it. Because this hurts. If x-rays don't show anything, I think I'll ask about MRI's of both shoulders, since I'm pretty sure they shouldn't make those noises. If something's up with joints, I need to know. So it's cold packs, NCIS and White Collar, and entering grades into the computer tonight...
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