Tuesday, October 19, 2010

End of the 1st Quarter

When I went to school, I don't remember there being so many distinct academic time frames:

Fourth Week Progress Report
First Quarter
Midterm Progress Report
First Semester
Second Quarter
Second Semester
Fourth Week Progress Report
Spring Progress Report
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter

Seriously? What's the deal people? Do we just work better under deadlines? Do we thrive on the pressure of countdowns and time limits? I guess I mention this because parent-teacher conferences are this week, which means we are at the halfway point of the halfway point (1/2 of the first semester is over). Now, just so you know, the only grades that appear on a student's transcript are those at semester; therefore, this mid-semester conference is meant to alert parents (and students) of any negative consequences their lack of academic focus might have created, and allow for time to remedy the situation before semester grades appear. 


On to other thoughts. 

I got out my sewing machine this weekend and went to town on a Bible cover. I know, not the most extravagant of crafting projects, but still...it was fun. Unfortunately, I did not do a fantastic job. Some of the fabric creased when I put it through, and I mis-measured one side. But the process of sewing was fun and allowed me to relieve some stress that I've been holding on to for weeks. Who knows, I may end up sewing every night if it helps!

Speaking of stress, does anyone have relevant ways to deal with massive amounts of it? Yoga? Tai chi? Baking? I need some options.

I've been reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close lately, and I don't yet know what I think of it. Here's an excerpt that I feel represents the eccentricity of the book:

I went through hundreds of books, thousands of them, they were all over the apartment, I used them as doorstops and paperweights, I stacked them if I needed to reach something, I slid them under the legs of wobbly tables, I used them as trivets and coasters, to line the birdcages  and to swat insects from whom I begged forgiveness, I never thought of my books as being special, only necessary...Later that year, when snow started to hide the front steps, when morning became evening as I sat on the sofa, buried underneath everything I'd lost, I made a fire and used my laughter for kindling: "Ha ha ha!" "Ha ha ha!" (pg. 28). 

This particular passage comes from Oskar's letter from (I think) his father, whom Oskar lost in the attacks of Sept. 11th. His father left him a key, and Oskar is now destined to find the lock which will open the key and, according to Oskar, solve the mystery of his father. I haven't gotten very far into the book, mainly because I keep it at school and read through during each period's allotted independent reading time, but it has my attention at least. I'll let you know when I finish...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grammar is my favorite.

I like fall. It's my favorite season.

You know what else is my favorite? Grammar.

This is from www.theoatmeal.com

They are incredibly funny...and relevant. You should check them out. My favorite is the apostrophe project, wherein one would find sentences such as... 

"Bob's jelly bean hat melted in the scorching sun. Bob's going to the store to create a bacon hat instead. Bacon hats do not melt and they smell wonderful."

Grammar and  bacon, you say?
Oh yes. Yes indeed. 

Friday, October 1, 2010


It's October! Yay!

John got off work early today, so we ran a few errands around Farmington and Prairie Grove. Then John surprised me with a stop at the local RV place. Why? Because it's cool! We even saw one that, with a bit of adjustment, can fit a car directly into the living room!

Some concerns with purchasing an RV:
1. Could we afford to drive further than 10 miles a year? Gas is expensive, people.
2. Would you (friends and family) allow us to park a gigantic RV in your front yard when we come to visit?
3. Smallest. Showers. Ever.
4. Would we automatically be subscribed to AARP upon purchase of this "retirement home on wheels"?
5. Could I install about thirteen extra bookshelves? I'll need something to read while John drives.

In other news, I made a root tree for my classroom today. I'm quite pleased with the results, especially since it's my first foray into grammatical agriculture. I'm a linguistic arborist!

If you look closely, each branch is a root word. The leaves are examples of the root word in everyday language. We'll add leaves throughout the year! So far, we have branches for:

"man" - hand
"cred" - believe
"aud" - hear, listen
"graph" - write
"dict" - speak
"ped" - foot
"loc" - place
"act" - do, respond
"mot" - move, shift

Here are some things I'd like to accomplish this month:
1. Have coffee with at least four friends, catching up on everything that's happened in the last few months.
2. Get out the sewing machine and start working on Christmas presents - scarves, purses, pillows, etc.
3. Cook with butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin. Not all at once, of course. That'd be a bit of a carb overload. I'd like to try to make roasted pumpkin soup, or maybe pumpkin muffins.
4. Go on a bike ride every week. It's going to be cold soon, so I need to take advantage of the crisp fall weather while I can.
5. Teach my students what an introductory phrase can do to a sentence. In all reality, it's a life-changer in the world of writing. 
6. Stay on budget. We've done quite well the last few months, thanks to my husband's fantastic finance skills, but I want to make sure we stay on track. 

That's all.