Friday, December 10, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
We were on one of our excursions today when we walked past her boyfriend's house — Butch, the 3-year-old Golden and neighborhood nomad. (Yes, Honey's part cougar). As friendly as Butch is, he's a cautious dog and didn't come running up to us right away. Only after Honey barked did he come our direction. After a requisite scruff and sniff, Honey and I continued on our way and Butch loped home. Seconds later he was back, leash dangling from his smiling jaws. Never have I been so tempted to kidnap someone else's dog. It's one thing to have a dog follow you on a walk; it's quite another to lead it off with its own leash. I shook my head and needlessly explained to Butch that I couldn't. As if he understood, he dropped the leash and followed us home.
As he slipped through our neighbour's garden, heading back to his house, I couldn't help but wish he ours. I'm not sure his family realizes what a special dog they have. I bet they never even noticed he was gone.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
1 large butternut squash
1/2 a large sweet onion, diced
1 ½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tart apple, peeled and diced
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
4 cups + 2 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 450°F / 225°C. Use convection mode if you have it.
- Split the squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and brush with melted butter.
- Roast cut side down on a baking sheet until fork tender (45 minutes to an hour).
- When the squash is nearly done, sauté diced onion, ginger and apple in remaining butter and olive oil over medium-low heat.
- Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add roasted squash. Discard skins and any blackened bits.
- Using a hand blender or food processor, purée until smooth.
- Add an additional 2 cups vegetable stock and heat through. Salt to taste.
- Serve with a dollop of cream, a few croutons, a sprinkle of cilantro or roasted squash seeds for garnish.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Days after my final exam I was asked by one of my professors to help her write a textbook of case studies. Over the ensuing two months I wrote ten cases, including six to nine study questions each. Again, Gone was put aside. Stalling am I? Maybe...
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A few weeks ago the girls and I made our annual pilgrimage to Canada, this time pausing in Dearborn, Michigan to see Mighty Mom home #5.
We followed the route I used to walk to school, all nine blocks, passing the corner where the crossing guard once stood, the one who reported me for crossing unescorted. The school, Snow School, was still there, though thankfully the playground had had an upgrade. I wondered if they still served popcorn and fish sticks on Fridays and if the marching band still led the school in the annual Clean-up Parade. Names passed through my mind: Mr. Bruno, Mr. Sladewski, Miss Sisson, Mrs. Gerrity, Mr. Maddocks, Mr. Gregorian, and Mrs. Thomas. I wanted to roam the halls but the doors were locked. Next time...
Enjoy these photos and if your ever passing through Dearborn, Michigan, consider staying a day. You won't regret it, even if you never lived there.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Granted, we are a notch below Violin Moms in musical martyrdom — we doff our imaginary crowns in their venerable direction — but here we stand: proud, determined and emotionally drained. A seemingly endless chorus of "Why do I have to practice?" sings us to sleep to the tune of our child's latest simple melody played in resentful staccato. But sleep, we must, because we will do it all again tomorrow, alone, with only our children's best interests to buoy us through.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Mouse and Emma are in the back seat drawing on our way to Target. Emma is drawing a picture of herself between Mouse and their cousin, the Kowabunga Kid. Mouse is doing her own rendition. Emma keeps making 'mistakes' on Mouse's portrait: a long pointy nose, too large lips, and -- evidently the deal breaker for Mouse-- one enormous green shoe.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
- This was clearly not sustainable. Eventually stickers would loose their effectiveness, not just on Alisha, but everyone.
- Were they developing self-awareness and self control? Yes and no. Jamal, who raised his hand to ask an on-topic question got appropriate feedback. On the other hand, Marques, who raised his hand just to get a sticker, had found a loophole I hadn't anticipated. Some kids are just too smart for their own good.
- Would they repeat this behavior in other environments without the presence of reinforcement? Perhaps, but not likely due to this single session.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
- Did Alisha have a diagnosed behavioral or emotional disability? If so, I would need to see her Individualized Education Plan.
- Was there any recent turmoil at home that might be contributing to her behavior?
- Was there a change in her behavior in the classroom, as well, or only with me?
- Was there anything I was doing that encouraged her outbursts?
- Is this something that Alisha is capable of controlling?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
- Use one or two decks of regular playing cards and shuffle them well. For the purposes of this game, Aces count as 1.
- Deal five cards to each player. Lay the rest of the deck face down in the middle of the players.
- Before the start of play, players lay down any combinations of cards with the sum of '10' face-up in front of them.
- The youngest goes first for the first round, after which the privilege goes to the next oldest, and so on.
- On their turn, a player can ask any other player for a card that would complete a pair or combination of cards that they have in their hand. For instance, if I had a 5, 2, 7, and 9 in my hand, I might ask another player if they have an Ace. If they do, they have to hand it over and I can lay my new group of 10 in front of me. If they don't I must Go Fish and chose a card from the pile. My turn is over.
- Oh, and about those pesky 10's, Jacks, Queens, and Kings: 10's must be laid down in pairs. The royals must be laid down as a threesome. A player can only ask another player for a royal if they have two of the set already in their hand. This means, unless you have a Queen and a King already in your hand, don't be asking anyone for a Jack.
- Play continues until one player runs out of cards.
- Scoring is as follows: each player gets one point for every card that is part of a set of 10. For instance, my combination of 9 and Ace would earn me 2 points. If a player still has cards in their hand, one point is subtracted for each. If I had three cards still in my hand, my score for the hand would be -1. Bummer.
- Collect the cards and shuffle well. It's time for round two: create sums of cards that add up to 11. The final round will be groups of twenty.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
- Time is precious, especially if you get only 30 minutes twice per week. This requires structure in both the lesson plan and the behaviour management plan. Thanks to Fundations, the lesson plan is done for me.
- In our group, we work hard. Hard work earns praise, both verbal and, in a more 'visible' sense, stamps on a incentive card. (There are 25 squares on each card to be filled with stickers or stamps. Hot air balloons and high-five handprints are a real hit.) Our session usually requires them to complete four tasks. They earn a stamp for each.
- Hard work means we have to control our voices and bodies. If you control your body and voice for the session, you get an extra stamp. If an Echo can't keep their bottom in the seat, I break out my pencil and draw their attention to it. That is their warning.
- If, after a warning, they don't settle down, I place a check mark on their incentive card where their next stamp would go. This means they cannot earn another stamp until they model appropriate behaviour. Usually this step is enough to get the offender back in line. I erase the check mark once they are back to work.
- Occasionally an Echo drifts back to the problem behaviour. In this instance, there is no longer a warning and the check mark returns.
- If this still has no effect, a second check mark is added. This means that they must 'flip a card' in the main classroom which has consequences determined by the classroom teacher. This is devastating as it not only means less play time, but also a note home. I've done this once. Poor Tyrone. He's behaved better ever since.
- When an Echo's incentive card is full (this takes 25 stickers or stamps and two to four weeks, depending on the kid) they get to bring it home with a 'secret' note from me. I'm proud to say that they are beginning to read them themselves, so the secret is out. They also get to choose a new incentive card. The current favourite has an owl on it that bears a striking resemblance to Baby Echo, the finger puppet that serves as a teaching aid in Fundations.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I made a pact with myself this semester to take in as many Bradley University cultural and sporting events as possible. (As the Captain would be quick to point out, my tuition is subsidizing them after all.) Yesterday we attended the theatre department's production of Stuart Little. It was a huge hit with the kids and adults alike. Today at 2:30 is the last performance, so, if you're in the area, try to take it in. If you aren't, look into live theatre performances near you. The right script and performers can unleash a child's imagination better than Pixar or Disney, even at their best.
Friday, January 22, 2010
- a dirty house
- unimaginative cooking
- group work with partners who consider watching the NFL a longstanding commitment
- homework and more homework
- lunch from a thermos four days a week
- less exercise, blogging and writing in general
- less housework
- fewer trips to the grocery store
- reliving my youth vicariously through my classmates and students
- learning more than I ever expected and loving it
- not taking time with my family for granted
- getting out and interacting with people every single day
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
- immediacy and
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Orchestra in Four Parts
Age Level: 7 to 9
Duration: 40 minutes
Computer with iTunes software, The Orchestra Playlist, and speakers
Worksheet, one per student (see attached)
Moss, Lloyd (1995). Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin
Garriel, Barbara S. (2004). I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello
Crossword Puzzle Maker courtesy of http://www.puzzle-maker.com/CW/
The Orchestra Play List:
- Piano Concerto #20 In D Minor, K 466 - 1. Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi
- The Coventry Carol (Brass Quintet) by Robert Croo
- Concerto For Flute & Harp, K 299 - 2. Andantino by Woldfgang Amadeus Mozart
- The Battle Of Stirling by James Horner, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
- Students will be able to identify the four sections of the orchestra based on their construction and method of sound production.
- Students will be able to match the following terms to their correct definition.
- Students will be able to place a selection of instruments into their appropriate sections.
- Begin by asking students if any have gone to see or listened to an orchestra. Guide discussion toward the number of musicians, the types of instruments, the type of music played and whether the musicians played by themselves or in groups.
- Play Track 1 from The Orchestra Playlist as an example of a large orchestra all playing together.
- Introduce the concept that the orchestra can be divided into four sections. Read Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, asking students to look for clues to justify what instruments they would group together to form a section. Hint: instruments are grouped together based on how they make sound.
- At the dry erase board, write the names of all ten instruments in black ink. Invite students to come to the board to circle instruments they believe are in the same section with like colored marker (i.e. all strings circled with red; all woodwinds circled with blue; all brass circled with green. See answer key attached.) Once complete, introduce the correct terms for the different sections: strings, brass, and woodwinds. Play tracks 2, 3, and 4 from The Orchestra Play list (15 to 30 seconds each).
- Remind the class that one important section is still missing. (Percussion) Allow students to offer suggestions as to what is missing and then read I know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello watching for new instruments they may not have seen in the first book.
- Add new instruments to the board: saxophone, fiddle, cymbal, kazoo, and bell. Invite students to come up to the board and classify the new additions, offering their justification. Add percussion as a section including the cymbal and bell. Discuss whether a kazoo belongs in any of the sections. Play track 5 from The Orchestra Play List as an example of percussion instruments.
- Distribute activity sheets. Allow students to work in small groups to complete. Younger students may require a word bank. Older students should be encouraged to refer to the texts. Meanwhile instrumental tracts in the background in sequence.
- During last five minutes gather group’s attention and discuss section and instrument preferences.
- See attached crossword puzzle. (Not included here for reasons of potential copyright infringement. While I wrote the content of the puzzle myself, I'm not sure I'm allowed to share it.)
ISBE Standard Addressed:
Classify musical sound sources into groups (e.g., instrumental families, vocal ranges, solo/ensembles).
Friday, January 8, 2010
Six inches. That's it. A whopping 15 centimetres of snow brought P-town to a halt yesterday. As a Canadian and former Montrealer, I couldn't help but chuckle. An automated phone call at 5:30 a.m. announced that all schools were closed. Needless to say, the girls were delighted by the phenomenon. Not once in five years were Geneva schools closed due to weather. Then again, Geneva never got much snow.