Thursday, May 26, 2011

A new family in our neighborhood

Look what we found outside our window this afternoon - cardinal eggs. I spotted the momma out there - she was not happy when I got the camera to take some photos of her little ones. She flew to a tree limb a little ways off and started squaking at me. She was not happy at all. Now she is back on her perch minding her little ones keeping her eyes on us.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spending a day off

Shortly after we returned from the Children's Musuem and lunch at Torchy's. Jack talked me into watching "Jake and the neverland pirates" and then said, "Mom, I am tired - I am going to play with my guys" .... boy brings out his bucket, lays in the middle of the floor and procedes to rage battles with Apocolypse against Toad and Blue Crystal Girl against Defender. Clearly, he is not hapy about being captured on camera.

Here is the day off list: Dueling was accomplished this morning right after breakfast. Torchy's was our lunch -Daddy joined us. We are waiting for our trip to the pool -since the pool doesn't open until 4:00 pm. We may need to call the cousins for this one.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Taking a day off.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of celebrating graduation with several wonderful and intelligent folks. While at lunch, my former advisor mentioned that he had taken his daughters out of school for a fun day at town lake. Another professor, who may be one of the best reading teachers in the country suggested that he should have asked them to write a persuasive essay before agreeing to a day off from school, he countered that he didn't want to be "that dad". She persisted and suggested that each child write a list of ideas about how to spend the day.
She added that one of the biggest problems with most of the writing done in schools is that it isn't authentic. She added that children needed more meaningful writing opportunities were the purpose for writing was authentic. I was inspired. Today when Jack came home from school, I told him if he could write down 5 ideas about how to spend the day we could take a day off from school this week. Here is his list.
1. go to the pool
2. dool (duel- this is our favorite Yugi-oh card game).
3. go to tochees (Torchy's - a local taco place).
4. go to peese prc (go to Pease Park).
5. do art
6. slep late (sleep late)
7. go.... (Mom, can I just put those three dots to mean go to Target and get a luncheable?).
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Saturday, May 21, 2011


Jack and I visited the library today. The last few times we have been I can let Jack spend some time looking for books on his own - our usual strategy is that I find a few books which I think he might enjoy (that I will like reading to him), then I look at books for myself and he does some searching on his own (or looks at the computers they have there), then we meet and I read him the books we have found (or a chapter from a longer book) and he decides if he wants to check the book out. Today we found several great books.

Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH by Robert O'brian - I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Benedict read this book to us. I think I check this book out of the library trying to read ahead and figure out what happened. This was a Newberry book back in 1971 - we'll see how it goes with Jack.

The extraordinary adventures of ordinary Basil by Wiley Miller - This book is the perfect mix of text and pictures and captured Jack's attention from the first sentence. So far this book is my pick for best book of the summer.

Addition by Sheila Cato - This was the book Jack found. This was the book Jack selected to read in the car on the way home from the library. It is filled with math facts and Jack was very impressed with my ability to answer several addition problems. 5+6+9 was the most difficult one - he thought it was hilarious when I suggested that the answer was 569 - this lead to a long and silly ride in the car.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea - I hate to include a spoiler but in spite of being victorious over adult conversation and leaf piles dinosaur does not defeat bedtime. Jack thought this book was great.

Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCauhrean - Jack has been reading this book with his dad. It is pretty good, Jack like it enough to renew the book and finish reading it.

I also snuck these books into the stack while Jack wasn't looking.

Diego: Bigger than life by Carmen Bernier-Grand - a lovely book of poetry about Diego Rivera. I hope Jack will let me read some of the poems to him.

Built to last by David Macaulay - I love David Macaulay he is an amazing illustrator, I think this is his latest book. It shows how a castle, a cathedral and a mosque are built.

Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen - I love her writing another great story which I hope Jack will enjoy.

This is one of the books I put in for me:

Cheap: The high cost of discount culture by Ellen Shell- I have been interested lately in issues related to consumerism. I wonder and worry about how much stuff we have in our lives and how this impacts the quality of our life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finishing strong

Today is my last class for the spring semester. I am finishing my first year as a teacher of teachers. I have enjoyed this year - but already I find myself thinking and planning about how to improve next time around.

I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to waste less time. I want to listen more and talk less. I want the time I spend with students to be meaningful and productive. I want the readings I assign to help students think about their practice and their philosophy of teaching.

Rather than feeling tired, I feel energized and excited about what lies ahead.