Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Turkeys

Though our numbers were drastically reduced this year (virtually cut in half), we stoically carried on the hand turkey tradition. We were down to 2 by Friday night, but again, Husbandman and I ventured out for a quick tour of the canopy of lights.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Mound Builders

I'm trying to put together a little power point presentation about the Mound Builder people. They lived just south of here around 1200 or so but then left town around 1450. No one is sure why they left. They walked away from their mound towns, leaving behind artifacts of their busy lives. Wherever they've gone, we wish them well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Return

I loved NCTE this year. I went to great sessions, reconnected with pals, and truly recommitted myself to teaching our nation's youth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Trip

I've spent a gazillion hours on the short ncte talk i'll give this coming Friday in San Antonio.  Each time I think I've got it done, something else bothers me about it.  I feel very close to being done, but not quite there.  At this point, not being done is a real problem because of laundry and sub plan issues.  Sometimes I wish I were a machine instead of a human being.  Everything would be done by now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Fluency

Yesterday I went to a "reading academy." The presenter was very pleasant, but some of her ideas I didn't buy. The whole fluency issue is one of these ideas. "Good readers" read 120 words per minute, she said. Well, I don't think that's true at all. And even if it is true, I don't really care. So what? Presenter tests her kids each week on fluency. They practice a passage and they have one minute to read it. Then they have 30 seconds to retell the passage. It's very important to constantly monitor and assess fluency, she told us. Then she has the kids graph their fluency rates. Kids who aren't improving or who are well below the goal line do feel disappointed, she told us, but "we handle it positively so it's okay." What the hell? I suggested that everyone start podcasting projects because a byproduct of this cool social action work is that kids do focus on reading with expression and accuracy, but presenter just nodded and I could tell she wasn't even going to try it. I'm not going to try the timed readings and the graphing, so I guess we're even steven. I did win a pack of pencils in a drawing, so I do thank her for the pencils and for her efforts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Army

Because yesterday was Veteran's Day, we had a speaker at our school who talked about getting out of the U.S. army in the 50's and then joining GOD'S ARMY and becoming an evangelical missionary. He asked the kids if they went to church, invited them all to his church and then advised them to always be part of GOD'S ARMY and NEVER belittle our great country. Then the kids all sang, "I'm glad to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." I wondered how they could be sure, given that the separation of church and state tenet had just been violated right in front of our very eyes. At any rate, Happy Vet's Day to all the veterans I know. You know who you are.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Podcast

This one's quite good too. It's about Ballot Box Battle. Thanks, Sarah, for putting this together!

The History

Husbandman had the temerity to question my decision to present at conferences. "Why do you do this to yourself?" I wish he would trust that freaking out is part of the creative process. On another note, we saw the Jonathan Demme movie last night about Rachel Getting Married. It gave me a stomachache.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Talk

I'm working on my NCTE talk today. I'm not sure I know what I'm doing with it at this point. I'm still in the "noodling" stage. Gotta get past this stage asap.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Tooth

Imagine me at work today, fully satisfied that I've helped secure our democracy, but worried about getting back into regular real world blogging. Imagine me helping a kid with math. A kid who doesn't know the number that comes after 809. After I tell her the answer (810), she writes down 8010. Imagine a kid running up with a significant portion of his front tooth missing. "What the heck happened?" I ask him, concerned.
"I ran into the wall over there and knocked my tooth off."

Imagine me, reassured that new blogging topics are going to come my way and there's no need for worrying. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The House

I'm really proud of Husbandman. Right now he's down in Bedford getting out the vote. I'm doing my part of course with this awesome photo of Bruce and Barack and Sasha. I'm feeling upbeat and excited. Bruce said this at his concert and I agree wholeheartedly with him:

"Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care, it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts and minds.

"It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness and faith to help us rebuild our house once again."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Teen

Today Teendaughter and her pal voted for the first time. What an exciting election for your first. If things go our way, I do feel the country is expressing a strong desire to move away from the hateful policies of the last 8 years. I am feeling hopeful. Teendaughter will be 18 tomorrow. Actually, she'll be 18 at 1:06 am this very night. The memories of a long day come flooding back.

The Astronauts

 From a Lynda Barry book, I've used the idea to have the Thirdlanders draw self portraits on occasion.  Draw yourself as Batman, a monst...