Sunday, September 25, 2005

That fall feeling

I should have recognized it Friday evening when I was reading on the couch with a blanket. But it wasn't until yesterday when I was cold getting out of the shower that it sunk in. Fall is here! I instinctively reached for jeans and a sweater to wear to my doctor's appointment and it just seemed like a natural thing to walk along 5th avenue to the Met instead of taking the subway. And I could smell that scent of decaying leaves and something else intangible too. At the farmers' market the squash were eyeing me temptingly but I decided to start slow with just some Macoun apples. There's plenty of time for squash yet. I haven't even seen any changing leaves, aside from those few that shock you in August as a reminder of school beginning again soon. Maybe I would have seen some if I had actually ventured inside the park.

Anyway, I was at the Met to look at the Greek art in preparation to take my class there. This is the first time that I've really studied the Minoans and Mycenaens so it was cool to see the pottery and jewelry that I'd been reading about in person. These people really existed 4000 some years ago. It's so hard to fathom, sometimes. What would life have been like for a bull-leaping Minoan acrobat?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Aaagh, not a whole week!

I can't believe it's Monday again and I haven't blogged. I think I always start these things with great ambition but then get bogged down with daily life. And lesson plans. Definitely lesson plans. Oh well.

I'm not going to try and recreate too much of the week that's over and done with but I do have one story that popped into my head. We were discussing the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth finding out that they were going to have John the Baptist. And of course, Zechariah was mute for the whole time of her pregnancy because he didn't believe the angel's proclamation. So, of course, our discussion gets side-tracked into questions about pregnancy and I was really hoping I wouldn't get one of those, "but how does the baby get in there?" kind of questions. I kept putting them off by saying that I've never been pregnant so I don't know. Then, this mom who was walking by popped her head in and said she could help answer some of their questions. See, this is the problem with collapsable walls--everyone can hear what you're teaching!

Anyway, she didn't really stay and they started to run out of questions and then this one little boy says, "I can't believe a baby can really be in there for 9 months. That's a really long time." I think this might have been the first time he ever heard that. I'm not sure. I hope I didn't lead to a sex talk that his parents weren't ready for.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Shameless Learners

So today I was introducing our science unit on light and I asked the kids to brainstorm some light sources. I got about a million different kinds of electrical things: flashlights, nightlights, gameboys, etc and then some interesting things. Mica, rainbows, guns firing, fireflies, glowing necklaces. Some of them I was able to explain reflected light but I really didn't know about guns since I've never really seen one fired except on tv. Do they produce light? And the sparks that rocks make when you strike them--I guess that's light.

Then they took some time to look at different objects (including a teeny girls sequiny bikini bottom which was very amusing!) and determine whether they were light sources or if they merely reflected light. And some students were sure right off about things but this one little girl just amazed me with her shamelessness. She wasn't sure about the rocks or the sparkely party hat so she stuck each one under the bookcase and hunkered down to check if in the dark under there it made light or not. Future scientist, perhaps? She challenged me--it's so hard for me to admit that I don't know something, let alone to have the courage to try and find out!

Friday, September 09, 2005


I'll probably be more reflective later but these are some things running in my head from the first week:

  • one child wrote that her least favorite subject was bedtime
  • a family decided to send in their older child yesterday (we started Wednesday) but the one in my class won't be in until Monday. For no clear reason. Ugh!
  • off and on all day today one boy kept asking me what flavors of ice cream would be at our summer reading celebration. even though I hadn't seen the woman buying it since Weds.
  • when they had finished their reading work, a group of kids voluntarily selected the Magic Treehouse books on the Olympics and started taking turns reading them together like their own little reading group
  • how eager they are to spread out on the floor to read or write and they do it quietly!
  • the crazy names for our Betta fish and stuffed armadillo: Snapper Sharpedo & Carribean Dallas (last names are the second place winner)

I know there's more but that's for later when my brain is working better.


I knew I was in trouble when the words in my subway novel seemed to be entering my head while I moved down the page but I had no idea what I was reading. Once home, I was knocked out on the couch for about two hours. Then dinner and mindless tv for another two hours. Thank the Lord the first week was only three days long!

I don't think it helped that I was out last night at a friend's birthday dinner. I drove another city dweller to the subway near my apartment and we had a great conversation along the way. Only later did I realize that I should have said much less. My tougue was sore from where it was brushing against my teeth while I was talking. And it's not her fault and I don't think I was too chatty; my voice is just not acclimated to teaching again. I wonder if I can blog to my husband this weekend instead of talking. And no singing in church.

My first year of teaching I fell asleep on the couch every time R. rented a Friday night DVD. And I got laryngitis once each trimester. But that was at the end, not the beginning. I really can't talk this weekend or I'll be messed up next week. I wonder how long laryngitis can last. Not that I have it yet. I'm fighting it with tea.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

They're not mine anymore

Some of my first graders from last year, intently studying . . .

can you see that? A pig! Our trip to the farm/petting zoo.

So, the first day of school came and went. And it wasn't as bad as my nightmare last night would have me think. I enjoyed working with my "new" third graders (I've had them before as first graders) but I realized I missed my old class (mostly pictured above). By June I'm always ready to be free of them but then in September when they're taller and wiser and moved on, I miss them. Sure, they'll call their new teacher my name for the first few days and some of them came and gave me hugs at snack time but for the most part, they're gone. You bond with them so intensely for the school year and then everything changes over the summer.

I suppose it's similar in my "adult life", which always threatens to disappear about now. Seasons of welcoming in and letting go mix together.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Last Day

I keep mentally calling various days my last day before freedom ends and I go back to school. But today is the final last day. The kids come in tomorrow for regular school. Can't get much more last than that. Although maybe yesterday was my last day of vacation and today is my last day of preparation? Who knows. I just want it all to be over.

I've given up the idea that I'll sleep tonight so maybe I actually will. But I didn't last year--hot bath and chamomile tea regardless. It's not that I'm terribly anxious about messing up (though that comes in a little) it's just that so much starts running through my head right when I'm trying to fall asleep and I can't turn it off.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Just starting

Okay, so my sister and my friend Rebecca have fun blogs and have inspired me to start writing a bit more and posting a blog but I wonder who will read it and will it really interest anyone beside me? Basic beginning questions, I'm sure. But I'm just starting. . . a lot of things actually: new school year, new classroom, new grade (moving from first to third). . . so, bear with me. And I have to figure out how to get some pictures on here.

But what's my purpose? Too many lesson plans have made me wonder this about everything: what's the objective for this blog? Maybe I can use it to vent after a long day of teaching, reflect on my class, life (or lack there of). . . who knows. Or finally make myself journal again.