Friday, June 30, 2006

One Down, Six to Go

I finished my first class in the ACT program last night. Overall, I was very pleased with the entire class and with my grade of 98% - an A! The instructor was great - very honest about her experiences as a teacher and very knowledgeable about the subject.

Now I have a week off before the next class begins on the 6th. There are a couple of people from the first class taking this one, so I will actually know a few people on the first night. This class is a technology class and I'm afraid it's going to be utterly boring, not unlike other computer classes I've taken that cater to the less knowledgeable users and dumb down the class. A girl in the reading class has already taken the technology class and told us it's pretty much "Create a lesson plan in Word! Create a spreadsheet in Excel! Create a PowerPoint presentation!" The only saving grace may be that the first half of the class is instruction and then you can go work on your project either in the computer lab or at home. So maybe I won't get home at 10:30pm every night.

PS - Last night, we had to do a group activity to complete a chart. One girl was sharing her (handwritten, not typed) chart with a phrase that was supposed to read "a pencil and a piece of paper," except pencil was "pensil" and piece was "peice." Yes, her content area is math, but still, this is a girl who already has a bachelor's degree and those are elementary school vocabulary words. There's a big difference between typing and having a typo and having an error when something is handwritten.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Recitals, Vacations and Birthdays, Oh My!

Busy June continues. Saturday was a marathon ballet recital-Father's Day-birthday celebration. Big H and I left the house at 10am and didn't get home until 10:30pm. First stop was the card store, then we were off to my parents' house for the first ballet recital. Little K danced in the 12:00pm recital. She was in four groups - tap, jazz, ballet and modern. In two of them, she was the lead at the front of the group. She's really very good! Big H loved watching all of the performances, but she seemed to really like tap (probably because you get to stomp around and make noise). We might have to sign her up for tap in the fall instead of ballet. The finale was a medley from "Annie" and Big H was riveted, which is good, since I wanted to take her to a dinner theater performance of "Annie" that's coming later this summer. I definitely think she'll sit through it.

When the recital was over around 2:30, we went back to the house for a quick snack before Big K's 4:30pm recital. Big K was only in two performances - ballet and modern - but we had to sit through another two-hour recital. We finally made it back to the house again just after 6:30 and prepared for our Father's Day/Mom's Birthday cookout. After dinner and presents, we finally got to the big surprise of the evening, the one we had been waiting for since December. My sisters and I told my parents about the anniversary trip we have been planning for August. K&K & Big H came down the steps dressed in their Smoky Mountain t-shirts and read the following poem (written by moi, but in the tradition of the Block family, all of them master poets):

Honey and Pop Pop-

Come this November, you’ll be married 40 years,
Years full of laughter, joy and some tears.

To celebrate this special event,
A trip with all of us is our intent.

Three daughters, three sons-in-law and one stray Bubble,
Plus Big H, K & K – triple trouble!

We hope you’re free from August five through twelve
Any plans you’ve made you’ll have to shelve

In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we’ve rented a chalet
For a week-long mountain get-away

Golf, shopping and Dollywood,
How can it not be good?

Forty years is big and we wanted to make a fuss,
And no need to worry, it’s all on us.
Happy Anniversary!

Of course, my mom cried. But they were both really surprised, which is a miracle because so many people in our family knew. Big H said the line, "Triple Trouble!" and was upset that she didn't have a bigger part, even though we explained it was because she couldn't read yet. Now I'm really excited for the trip to be here!

Sunday was more relaxing. We went swimming at my mother-in-law's after M. cut her grass. Even though it was extremely hot out, the water was still freezing cold, but it felt good. Next weekend is another family birthday party, and then it will be 4th of July weekend (a nice four-day weekend).

Class in Review

Class has begun and I'm actually halfway through already! It's been tough because I'm so tired during class (I had to have afternoon sickness instead of morning sickness), but the class is very interesting. The first session was overwhelming and there are so many terms I don't know, but I'm learning and that's what matters. The instructor is a high school English teacher (at my alma mater) and chair of the English department, so everything she teaches us is very practical and useful. The class is a mix of non-teachers and those already teaching, which made me feel a lot better. We handed in our first project last Tuesday, reviews of three journal articles, and I received a grade of 100%. What a relief! Project #2 is due tonight - three sample lesson plans that incorporate pre, during and post reading strategies. My very first lesson plans! All of mine focused on Truman Capotes's In Cold Blood, since it was fresh in my mind after reading it for the American Lit class I took last year.

I'm debating dropping the class I signed up for in July, only if I don't feel any better by the 4th. I'll hit week 13 of the pregnancy this Thursday, so I'm hoping the first trimester symptoms will pass and I'll feel more energetic. The July classes run until 9:30pm instead of 9pm and I just don't think I could make it, with not getting home until almost 10:30pm after working all day, the way I am feeling right now. We shall see!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Sorry for the silence around here lately. Life happens. Mostly, I just haven't had the energy or the attention span to focus on putting a comprehensive entry together. Why, you may ask? That's because all of my bodily functions are focused on growing a new little life form. Yes, baby #2 is on the way, due at the end of December, right around Christmas. I'm tired at work, I'm tired at home, so I just haven't been able to muster the energy to think about all of the things I need to think about right now.

But all of that should change soon, hopefully. Morning sickness (afternoon sickness for me) should be tapering off as the third trimester ends and school starts this week, so look for some updates over at the other blog. I promise I'll try not to turn this into a pregnancy blog, but will keep my few faithful readers updated on any news.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Nothing Like Waiting Until the Last Minute

I registered for summer classes this morning. I had to do it in person since I'm registering for the first time, so it was hard to fit in my schedule until today. The first class starts on Tuesday. The summer session is two four-week, eight-class sessions, so the first class is from June 6 - June 29 on Tuesday and Thursday nights, followed by a short break for Fourth of July, and then the second session is July 6 - July 27, also on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm taking "Teaching Reading and Writing in the Content Areas, Pt. 1" first, followed by "Technology for Instruction and Management" for the second session.

I'm afraid I'm biting off more than I can chew at this point, but I really want to get as many classes under my belt as possible right now. The second class should be fairly easy - it covers how to use the electronic portfolio that you will need for the rest of your classes, but the first class is a real live education class. Even though I took those online classes last year, I'll actually be back in the classroom now. I have visions of Elle Woods on her first day at Harvard Law. I'll be in class with my gel pen and spiral notebook and everyone around me will whip out their laptops and already have read and outlined the first five chapters in the textbook. Gulp!