Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Fragments--A Short Overview of My Week

I'm really into the whole "Friday Fragments" thing ... what a great way to do a quick catch-up on the week :-)

*  *  *  *
So I got my hair cut last night.

It was kind of interesting because I went through a long phase of really not caring what I look like.  However, the grays were starting to get to me, and I realized that I'm 34 years old and, realistically speaking, the days when I can look really good are limited.  Plus, I'm single and looking, right ;-)?

My hairdresser was great ... I explained that I've decided that I want to start looking good (like, wear my contacts every day instead of my glasses and so on), so I gave her complete artistic license with both the color and the cut.  I'm glad that she didn't go far from my natural hair color, though ...

I was also reminded while trying to take pictures of it so that my friends could all see it via Facebook and Twitter how truly atrocious I am at taking pics of myself.

To wit ...

*  *  *  *
On Wednesday, my mother brought Addie and Belle up to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew at their cabin in Maine.  My aunt and her partner were also there along with a lot of other cool people.  I was sorry to miss out, but I had to work in the morning and then had a dentist appointment in the afternoon (my life is currently revolving around dentists between Belle, Addie, and me).

Anyway, a good time appeared to be had by all :-)

On the way home, though, there was a very bad accident on the highway.  My mom and the girls were stuck in traffic for almost three hours ... they were about five minutes from home, but because the accident was so bad there was nothing they could do but wait.

Addie was especially shaken up by this because she is petrified of car accidents, particularly those involving big trucks.  My hearts go out to the victims of this terrible accident, and my thanks go out to whatever higher power exists for keeping my family safe.

*  *  *  *
I am loving the summer school gig, even though I grumble about it from time to time.

Last week was especially exciting because I came up with an amazing lesson (actually, I totally stole an amazing lesson that one of my former colleagues did, but of course I adapted it a bit).

We'd been working on sequencing, following directions, and precision of language.  I felt like things were going well until I asked my students to write directions for how to make a peanut butter sandwich and most of the responses were something like:
1.  Put peanut butter on the bread.
2.  Eat it.

So I figured I'd try to come up with a creative way to get the point across ... and thus the robot game was born.  Basically, I brought in a bag of props (ranging from straws to a flyswatter to chocolate syrup), and the kids worked in small groups to give me, "the robot", directions for what to do with the props.

They loved it ... and also learned the very things (directions, sequencing, and precision of language) I'd been trying to get across.  To a child, they were able to articulate what they could have done differently and why some of the directions didn't get the results they'd envisioned because they weren't specific enough.

Regardless, I ended up covered with chocolate syrup, animal cracker crumbs, applesauce, and sticky garbage bags that were intended to protect my clothes.

Here's what happened  ....

Also, I figured I'd let the kids eat the animal crackers that were left over, and one of them found this:

Sometimes you just don't know whether to laugh or cry ;-)
*  *  *  *
I noticed that there is a lot of bad stuff going on in New Hampshire this summer when I was reading through some of my recent Zelda Lily pieces.  I'm giving links and short descriptions, and I hope you check them out. Zelda Lily is a very cool site :-) (and not just my stuff, either!).

+ A 34-year-old mother left two bags of doggie doo and a nasty note on the doorstep of a kid her daughter was having problems with.  That sends a great message to a thirteen-year-old, don't you think?  The idea that some parents want to be "friends" with their kids ... it just scares me badly.

+ A little boy was found dead and abandoned on the side of the road.  It took several days before he was identified as Camden Hughes of Texas ... and that evidence points to his mother as the one who killed him.

+ A man was found guilty of the rape of a fifteen-year-old girl in his church congregation ... fourteen years after the fact.  In spite of the guilty verdict, it does not exactly give rape victims a lot of encouragement in terms of coming forward.  The girl's treatment by her congregation was dreadful, and this only underscores the myriad of difficulties faced by rape victims that go beyond the act itself.

+ An Amber Alert was issued for a four-month-old baby in order to capture his father, who was wanted for a crime; there was no evidence that the baby was "missing", and it was in fact known that the baby's mother was also with him.  The idea of such an important tool as the Amber Alert being used in kind of an underhanded way bothered me quite a bit.

+ A young mother disappeared without a trace, her abandoned (and still running) car with her baby daughter in the backseat puzzling the heck out of police.  Turns out the woman was killed as the result of a drug deal gone bad, and she went from a media darling to a publicity pariah overnight.

*  *  *  *
Finally, I got over my literary snobbery (again ;-)) and read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy (the other two books are Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) and Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3).  I highly recommend them and once again wonder why I am so reluctant at times to read books that "everyone" is reading; I almost always end up loving them!  So odd ...

*  *  *  *
Hope everyone's had a great week :-)

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...