Tuesday, August 28, 2007

E brag of the day 

We forget to put music on during E's play time more often than not, but when we do put it on, it pipes from the black speakers on either side of our TV stand. She usually plays right in front of the TV stand on a blanket.

Today I decided to try out my computer's speakers. So I piped some Brandenburg through my computer on the dining room table (which has turned in to "L's desk." I put a few hours today into fixing that, and making the desk in the bedroom my desk, but alas, my computer has yet to be moved). Anyway...

After watching (with some amusement) as I sat on the couch and did a silly head-jig to Brandenburg, E looked around to take in her surroundings. She looked toward the dining room table. Then she turned her head about 190 degrees and looked (just slightly quizzically) at the black speakers on the side of the TV stand, as if to say "they're not coming out of there this time, mommy. That's where the noise usually comes from."

"Wow, you're a smart kid!" I exclaimed. And she turned to me and returned my comment with a half-smile that oh-too-clearly said, "Why, of course, mom!"

Monday, August 27, 2007

All for the greater good 

First day of school. It went well. Still only have half my students, but I'm sure it'll all work itself out in the end.

I had a few students who decided they'd try to convince me that chewing gum and drinking sodas/eating food in class was allowed.

So I got to teach the idiom "pulling my leg." I had several opportunities to reinforce their learning of that phrase throughout the hour. And my lighthearted (bouncy, and almost gleeful) response to their attempt at arguing definitely defused them.

"Mr. __ allowed us to drink in class last year!"
(I know Mr. ___ so I could confidently say, )"You're pulling my leg!" and then "OOH, do you know what THAT means?! Any guesses???"

By the end of the hour all I had to do was mime my leg being pulled and they knew they weren't getting away with it.

I think they might be scared that I'm one of those language teachers. You know the type I'm talking about, the ones who constantly teeter on the verge of insanity. If you've ever taken high school French at my Alma mater, you know what I'm talking about! (All the French teachers were crazy. Mdm H was BEYOND crazy.)

I kind of like being one of those teachers in their minds (as long as I don't hit Mdm H. levels of insanity, I'm still a bit bitter towards her for unfairly giving me the lowest grade of my high school career). Their biggest complaint about last year was that they were "bored." By the end of this year, they'll only WISH they were bored! MWAHHAHAHAHA... [Igettobeacrazylanguageteacher, Igettobeacrazylanguageteacher...]

Oh, yeah, the Latin teacher at the school is crazy, too.
"WHAT?" you say, (that was S's reaction)... Yes, we do have a Latin teacher. She's crazy. Her wall is now painted from ceiling to floor to look like the Roman countryside. (She didn't paint it herself, she installed wall panels.)
I'm in good company.

Tortilla Victory 

For years I have thought about making my own flour tortillas, but have not tried. Then a couple of months ago, I looked at some recipies, and made the worst batch of tortillas I have ever had. This was very demoralizing.

Today, however, Laura convinced me to try again, and the result was a resounding success. I chose to use this recipie, and they turnout out amazing. I highly reccomend it. It does take some time, though, since you have to make up the dough, then let it sit, then portion it out, then let it sit some more. But for those evenings when you just want to spend the evening cooking something fun to go with your beans and potatoes, this is the thing.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ah, August adventures. 

So far I'm supposed to have 12 kids on my roster, and I have 6. Two of whom I've just been informed are too proficient in my subject to be on my roster. So I must kick them out of class on the first day and encourage them to seek another elective (one has already told me he really wants to take my class, so I'm not looking forward to this task). And in the next day I need to find out why the other eight kids are not on my roster (did they leave the district? Did someone forget to enroll them?) If I don't get them in the right class by tomorrow, they'll start their school year, and then get TOTALLY shuffled around on the second or third day as I pull strings to ensure that they ARE in my class, thus having to learn not just one, but up to four different class routines several days into the school year. Grr.

Finally, there is student Z. A smart girl (straight As) from some island country whose official papers (or so I was informed by the translator) indicates that she is a "legitimate" child. She studied a little English in her home country, but who knows how that translates to school life. I know I'll get her as a student, and am excited to meet her. The thing that gets me with her: I cannot legally have her in my classroom until she has taken a standardized placement test. I'm not yet trained to give the test. The person who is trained does not have time to administer the test before Monday and likely not in the first week.

As such, she will start the school year spending the period for which she's enrolled in my class -- sitting in the guidance counselor's office twiddling her thumbs.

All this said, I am so very excited for the school year! I am also very excited to have this first week OVER with!
Oh, and, as icing on the cake, my computer (to replace the one that died a week ago) came today! Our bank account hurts, but it's such a nice (and necessary) present.

No news from the donor yet on whether or not he'll be able to give my students a computer. I REALLY want them to have their own machine in my classroom! Especially if my class sizes stay under five, it'll be nice to get all my kids very proficient in word processing/etc before they go off into the "real world."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We're home! 

We arrived home earlier this week.

Things are going well, except my computer died. Really died. Like, ticking time bomb instead of whrring harddrive died. So dead that I couldn't retreve the last two weeks of lesson planning that was on it. Ironically enough, I booted it up precisely so that I could save all these files on my flash drive. Never got there, though. Instead I got "tick-tick-tick," followed by no operating system found, followed by no hard drive found. This is definately a hardware problem. Good bye dell.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We are safely in MN 

We made it safely to MN. E dipped her feet in Lake Michigan on the way here. We enjoyed SQUEEKY cheese curds in WI (mmm... like gold!) and all in all a very nice trip. Left at 6:22 am and were in to MN at 3:08 pm. Made good time! (Granted, we gained an hour, so it was really like we either left at 5:22 am or got in at 4:08 pm)

Most importantly, though, we are safe, and were no where near this (for those who knew we were traveling to MN and wondered, just wanted you to know! Don't worry!)

Finished HP7 in the UP of MI before crossing into WI. Good times.

Am currently hoping that no one I knew was on 35W this evening, either.

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