Monday, August 27, 2012

So much to learn, so little time

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

I promised myself that I would write my posts on Sunday nights during the school year even though I'll wait until Tuesday Slice of Life to post them.  I know if I don't write my post tonight that it might not happen on Tuesday since Wednesday is our first day of school.  My son-in-law is coming on Tuesday and my daughter remarked to him that he was brave "to enter the eye of the storm" (translation - my frenzy before the first day of school).  He will probably be put to work.  My husband avoided this storm and is on a business trip this week!
I continue to be overwhelmed with the technology in our world and realize that there is never enough time to explore all the things I wish to learn.  Tonight I jumped into my first twitter conversation on #titletalk.  There's a lot that I still don't understand, but I plunged in anyway.  Now I want to change my profile picture on twitter, but I can't figure out how to make it the right size.  Sigh!  So for now I still have the egghead picture.
Finally, I have enjoyed viewing book trailers on various blogs, and I want to learn how to save them so I can share them with my students.  Can anyone enlighten me?  How do you keep them organized?
Monday is our district technology day.  Another delicious opportunity for this old dog to learn some new tricks!  Here's my virtual toast - "May we all continue to be learners for the rest of our lives!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

This yellow button is my favorite for Slice of Life postings.  I chose it today in hopes of reviving my lagging energy.  I just arrived home from a long day at school.  I put up my first bulletin board filled with Top 10 Favorite Books of sixth grade from my last year's students, continued organizing my classroom, made new headers for the homework board, met several of our new teachers, and worked on restoring things on my computer (they did something that required us to save everything and it's always a challenge to get everything back like it used to be).  

This was a non contract day for teachers, but one that I never miss -  Fee, Schedule and Photo Day.  After our students and their parents take care of business, they head to the main building to try out their locker combinations and walk through their schedule.  I love to meet my students and their parents.   Many of them are anxious about starting middle school, but I believe that seeing the classroom and meeting me helps them to calm down before the first day of school.   

This afternoon, some of the seventh and eighth graders stopped by to say hello.   I love seeing them and hearing about their summer.   Most of them arrive with a friend, a signal of their growing independence.  It's interesting to see how much they've grown over the summer and share the books we've read.  I put my summer reads on the whiteboard tray.   I think I'll leave them there for the first week of school.  

I can't believe how tired I am today!  It always takes some adjusting after the carefree days of summer.  I have two more non contract days to work in my classroom before we begin the round of required meetings that officially kick off the school year.  I'm looking forward to a productive day tomorrow!  And I'm inspired by the words from a kindergartener shared on Nanc's blog:  "I know it’s hard; try to be brave!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tumblings

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

It's been a busy week.  We celebrated my father's 100th birthday (he died 31 years ago) on Friday with a virtual family reunion on Facebook and a challenge posted by a grandson to collect 100 memories in honor of my dad's birthday.  We made it!  I often think of how excited my father would be in the changes that have occurred in our world during the past 31 years!

I had wanted to host a real family reunion to honor of this special birthday, but my son's wedding in June and a great niece's wedding this week took travel priority for our family members who are scattered from the West coast (CA, OR, WA, NV) to the middle of the country (OK, TX, TN) to the East coast (DC, FL) with a grandson in Afghanistan.   I like to think that my dad was able to peek in on our virtual reunion.

Saturday I updated friends with this post on Facebook.
Photo: Anniversary Hike - We hiked five miles in two hours.  Each mile represents six years of marriage.  You do the math!

I spent a few hours in my classroom yesterday with the requisite stop by the teacher supply store last night.  We start school in two weeks, but first I'm off to UT for my great niece's wedding and a weekend rendezvous with my daughter in Portland.  Then next week I must get serious about school.  Our first required teacher day is next Thursday, but I have much to do before we start with that whirlwind of required meetings.

Finally, I must share a link I discovered today.  While surfing the net (a favorite summer activity) and procrastinating cleaning the house, I stumbled across the Powerful Learning website.   

I downloaded their Free Twitter Handbook for teachers from the sidebar on the right.  I saved it to my Dropbox and I'm hoping that by next week I'll be Twitter savvy.  I have an account which my kids helped me set up, but so far understanding Twitter has eluded me.  I'll let you know next week if their handbook does the trick for this old dog who wants to learn new tricks!  

When I opened Facebook today, I saw that I'm slated to be changed to the dreaded timeline format.  And so the changes continue!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Newspaper Meanderings

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers
My husband and I read the New York Times newspaper quite differently.  He reads it online, while I prefer to peruse the paper version.  He reads the real news from the front page, the Book Review, and the editorial page.  My favorite sections are the Travel section, the Book Review, the NYT Magazine, and Science Times.  He reads the newspaper daily, but I can easily fall several days behind.  
When hubby decided a few years ago to add the WSJ to our already cluttered newspaper life, I protested vehemently.  Now I must confess that I have favorite sections of this newspaper too - Personal Journal, Friday Journal, Off Duty, and Review!
I am an inveterate clipper.  I clip stuff to send to my kids, my siblings, and my friends.  I know it's faster to send a link, but I love real mail in the real mailbox, and I like to think friends and family enjoy it too! I also clip articles to use in my classroom.

Here's a quick glance at my latest clippings:
"Isn't Life Grand?" - new picture books about grandparents, perfect for Grandparents' Day in September.
"Pool Powers" - article about Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin, good for teaching compare/contrast writing.  Also perfect for showing the power of repetition,  five consecutive sentences in the article begin with the word impossible.
"Decoding the Science of Sleep" - long article, use for teaching cause and effect.  How did the invention of the light bulb lead to problems with sleeplessness?  What are the consequences of sleeplessness in today's society?
"Turning Personal Tales Into Bites of Candy" - fun article about chocolatier who creates chocolates " ...designed to evoke ... personal stories, commemorating the foods she has savored, the places she has visited, and some of the personal experiences she has had." Perfect for inspiring personal narratives based around food.
Did you notice that each article I clipped has an intended use in my classroom?   I guess my brain has finally turned the corner from summer respite to fall connections!