Tuesday, September 30, 2014


When Word Savvy was down here in Hoosierville, we got very interested in taking twin photographs. Twin photographs are photographs when people take the same photograph.  This week we're taking spoon and razor.  What do you think?

On another note, #1 Son is here in the morning, having coffee with us.  This is an awesome surprise.

And on another note, yesterday was kind of a ho hum kind of Monday.  My teaching plans didn't work out the way I wanted them to.  This is part of the gig.  I'm brushing myself off today and looking ahead with élan and panache.  The other great news is we're having a school picnic tonight and #1 Son is playing some jazz there.  I'm probably going to be hired as his official emcee.  I can give the history of each of the jazz songs they play. I'm hoping that I get invited to sing some of my own creative scat lyrics on their encore.  Greatness and glory be mine.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Banning

Morning Meeting Sign Ups. Topics:  Awards, Homework, News, Books, Gender
It was banned book week last week.

As usual, I forgot about it, but with a little help from my friend Mitzker, I got on the train at the last stop.  Mitz gave me a pin and some bookmarks for the Thirdlanders.

Then I remembered I had a couple of awesome power point slide shows that I made with the students at old school.

So we talked about the power points, shared our book marks, and read a banned book. Thirdlanders were shocked that the same book could win the Caldecott and be banned.  "Look at this Caldecott sticker," A thirdlander pointed.  "How can you ban this?"  Book banners may have good intentions, I told the Thirdlanders.  (But let's face it, book banners need to stop being bossy flossy).  I'll probably stretch this out into this week. We don't like people telling us what we can and can not do so further exploration of book banning is right up our alley.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Drop

We saw a movie last night called The Drop.  This movie is based on a short story by Dennis Lehane.  I would like to meet this Dennis Lehane character.  The Drop is not an independent film, and yet I feel it merits a review. The creators of The Drop put a lot of effort into making this creepy compelling film, and a review seems like the least we can do to acknowledge the way they rolled up their sleeves and got the job done.

Lw:  Tell me about The Drop.
Hm:  An excellent movie.  Beautifully acted, but more than anything else beautifully written.  A rare example of a screen play that holds together on every level.
Lw:  Tom Hardy was quite good.  Your thoughts?
Hm:  He was great.  So was Gandolfini.  And so was Noomi Rapace.
Lw:   I wonder where Dennis Lehane lives?
Hm:  I don't.
Lw:  We could take a road trip to his house next summer.
Hm:  That seems kind of pointless.
Lw:  Anyway, fist of 5?
Hm:  I'm going to give it a 4.5
Lw:  I'll give it a 5.  I think everyone should see it if they want to. I wish James Gandolfini were still alive.
Hm:  Me too.

Dennis Lehane, if you're reading this, please send your address and some possible visiting dates to me in the comments section below.  I'm really looking forward to chatting about films based on your books. You'll be happy to know I've seen several and now I'm thinking about reading one of your books with my book club.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Car

Yesterday I learned a lot about soil.  First I had to toil for soil in the morning by getting soil samples from our school garden.  My colleague's white shoes were ruined by the wet grass, but I reminded her that when we toil for soil, sacrifices are made.

Later, the IU biology crew came and showed us all about the components of soil:  gravel, sand, silt and clay.  Throw in some peat and some air.  You've got soil.

Toiling for soil could possibly be my dream job.  You're outside, scooping soil with a plastic cup into a jar.  That's basically all there is to it.

On another note, Have you ever listened to the lyrics of Streets of Laredo?  That song can really bring you down.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

This is a video of the Kronos Quartet discussing their collaborative quartet-ish creativity.  As you all know, my oldest pal is the manager of the Kronos Quartet, so I feel I've had a hand in their development and their success.  Kronos, keep up the good creative work.  I feel extremely grateful for all the music you've given us.

We went outside yesterday and created odes to our pencils.  The odes were funny and all were a little different.  We'll be publishing these odes on construction paper pencils we made yesterday.  Oh Sweet Pencil, Without you I'd be nothing.

Looks like we missed this Grow Your Own exhibit in Dublin, but I watched a snippet of a show on biohacking and I tried to find a website for this guy who grows art out of mushrooms, but then I found this art piece where 2 artists collaborated on the same piece.  I think they both did a bang up job. Plus, I have to go to work, so that's Thursday Creativity Share.  Awesome Kronos, Pencil Praise Poems, Biohacking.  Incroyable!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Highlight

I have a new student who lives nearby.  Yesterday I ended up walking him home.  This walk was extremely pleasant.  The kid is a great conversationalist.  The weather was beautiful.  On the way home I saw a Blue Heron walking along a small pond.  SCORE!

On another note, our little news magazine had an issue about dress codes.  The magazine featured a Hoosier School called West Goshen and their new dress code.  As we read through the dress code on Monday, it turned out that I was the only one who could attend West Goshen.  My shirt had sleeves, solid color, collar, and two or more buttons.  Yesterday, several kids came in with solid shirts.  "Look, I can go to school in West Goshen," kids announced as they walked in.  I could not as my shirt had no buttons.  West Goshen, you're on our radar.  How's the dress code working out for you, West Goshen?  Please keep us posted.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Goals

Update on the proposal.  Editor wants me to start working on chapter 2.  Then she might bring it to an editorial board.  Then she might send it out for review.  Then there might be a talk about contracts.  So, things are moving in the right direction.  Still, I wish I were standing on more solid ground.  That's a lot of mights, but I'm a mighty woman with determination and creativity.  So, soldier on we must.

On an unrelated note, I showed that silly "Let's eat, Grandma," and "Let's eat Grandma" with the third graders yesterday, sharing with them the life and death importance of punctuation.  It's fun teaching third grade because they haven't seen this stuff on Facebook 1,000 times so they laugh hysterically.

As I work with them to edit their papers, I've been coming up with some fanciful statements about how I invented various punctuation marks and how I hope they catch on.  I say stuff like, "Let me show you a little something called the period.  You could use it right here to separate these run ons.  I rolled this innovation out in 2011.  I'm feeling it's going to spread like wildfire any day now" and "See this little red line here running along your paper?   I named this "the margin" (I use air quotes here) after I invented it in the early 90's.  It's extremely useful for organizing your writing. I was out of my mind with happiness when I got the idea.  I'm not sure why it's not more popular.  I'm going to have to talk to my publicity department."  You can imagine the hilarity that ensues, mostly from me, as I chuckle to myself as I'm applying the eraser to their writing.

Organization Tuesday.  This is the day for checking stuff off the To Do list.  It can be done.  Oh yes, it can be done.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Visitor

Second night of Lotus was just as much fun as the first.  We saw 7 musics and did some dancing in the streets.

We had fun with Word Savvy which just goes to show you that visiting friends is a good idea.

Besides the fun and the keeling over with laughter that happened, I've reset some of my life goals as a result of Word Savvy's visit.

First off, I've got to get reading more.  When reading on my iPad, I get distracted and distorted and then I head over to Facebook or some other sundry site.  Not good.  I believe I'll now read paper books again.  

Secondly, I am recommitted to learning more about technology and teaching.  Word Savvy is really good with this.  I wish I could remember the name of the little quizzy site she showed me.  Plus, I'm going to start practicing with the google apps. 

And c., I'm going to step it up with the fitbit.  Moving, walking, skipping along, singing my song.  Whatever it takes.   We're back to Monday my friends.  So many opportunities to get things right this time.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Lotus

Once again, Lotus does not disappoint.  We saw six musics last night. I loved all six musics and my only regret was not getting in to 2 musics that I really wanted to see.

I wish people who didn't get to go to Lotus last year because they were in Israel could get special entrance to all the musics.

We really want to see Full Set tonight because of our Irish Heritage.  Husbandman has a small amount of Irish heritage and he wears it proudly.  We're developing a plan for the coming evening of musics.   I'm crazy in love with Lotus.  And yes, I would marry Lotus if I didn't already have a husband. KC says Lotus is the best music festival she's ever attended, bar none.  She even said she is probably going to start playing blue grass music on her fiddle every day so she can busk next year on Kirkwood.  Mac and Unabashed might busk with her (they both play fiddle) and KC believes that they will perform under Mac's current band name, The Cool Two.

Nancer taught us a Lotus handshake last night.  If you see us zipping about tonight, let's pause and take a moment to properly learn the lotus flower handshake.  This handshake is to be used only on Lotus weekends, forevermore.  Another tradition is born.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Friends

Everyone, relax.  KC made it here safe and sound, thanks to private transportation.
Today's the day for mix and mingle, my friends.  A visit to Thirdlandia, then hopping through the streets, listening to the tunes of the world. Husbandman made us bag lunches that we'll eat outside on the school grounds and obviously we'll swing by Starbucks on the way to school.  The fun never stops around here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

Let the good times roll with CREATIVITY.

First off, KC is coming to our town this very evening. To our TOWN, people!!!!   You all know her extremely creative blog, Word Savvy.  If you don't, get over here and start reading, STAT.

Why is she coming to our town you ask?  Because LOTUS festival starts tonight!  You should go here and listen to sample music of all the people coming from all over the world to play music for us.  Then you should go to LOTUS festival and look for KC so you can give her a welcoming hello and Hi-Ho.  Maybe even come up with a creative handshake to practice with her.  The sky's the limit, when your heart is in it!  Cynthia said she will come next year and we're all holding her to it.

I'm mostly looking forward to Arga Bileg and their jazz improv Mongolian folk music.  It doesn't get much more creative than that. Let's face it.

Thursday Creativity Share.  An amazing blog of longstanding. A festival of world music. A picture of a giraffe's large head.  Impressive?  I'd say so.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Palate

I'm wearing a little number today that was an impulse purchase.  Every time I wear it, I wonder, "Should I have bought this?"

Today I told Husbandman, "I don't know if I should wear this.  Last time I wore it someone told me it wasn't in my palate."

Husbandman said, "You should have answered, 'Can you hang on a minute while my palate punches you in the face?'"

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  Soldier on we must.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Independent Film Review

We saw an independent film last night called Frank.  We can't really review it properly tonight because we're watching The Roosevelts on PBS, but we can give you the basics.

Hm:  I liked it.  It was odd, but compelling.
Lw: Can you give a one sentence summary?
Hm:  A loser British kid links up with an avant garde band led by a charismatic leader who always wears a gigantic fake head.
Lw:  And the bandleader is named Frank.
Hm: Right.
Lw:  Fist of 5?
Hm:  I'm going to give it a solid 3.
Lw:  (with an outraged tone) 3?
Hm:  3.5.

Okay, it's a wrap.  You should see Frank if you want to.  It's a very odd movie.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Beginning

Do you love this picture as much as I do?
I bought a new shirt this weekend.  It's not a school spirit shirt, but it's a good one.  All will be well because I have a new shirt. Husbandman is also wearing a new shirt. We're both pleased as punch.

 I'm determined to go in to school with élan and good cheer.  But there's one thing holding me back.  My classroom has an office space attached to it.  On Friday, a 3rdlander said to me, "I just saw a wasp fly into your office. Just FYI."  I ignored him with a flippant, "Please sit down" or some such nonsense.  How I've come to regret my flippant demeanor. Come to find out, when I was shuffling stacks of papers on my desk yesterday on a Sunday afternoon when others were probably outside enjoying a beautiful day, a wasp was lurking beneath the stacks of papers and that wasp hauled off and stung my finger viciously.  It really hurt.

So obviously now I have fears about going into my office.  Come to find out, wasps don't die after they sting you.  They can sting you fifty to one hundred more times.  Even more if they feel like it.  There's stuff I need in that office, but what can I do?  There's a wasp occupying the space, locked and loaded. I feel defenseless against the wasp, which come to find out, has a life span of up to six weeks.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Meerkat

Headed out to the zoo yesterday.  Beautiful sunny day.  New Orangutan center.  Why wouldn't we?  Plus I sent stuff off a week ago to "the editor" and she hasn't written back, so I decided to have a Saturday for fun. First time in a couple of months.  On a TV show we watched last night, a writer said that being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life.  That's a pretty good description. Yesterday we all took a break, zoo-ed around, and then ended our day hearing #1 Son play some music at one of our fave restaurants.  
Today I'm back to work but I'm going to start stuff off with a trip to a store where I will buy organizational accoutrements such as baskets and tubs and little magnets. I also need good pencils and pens.  School supplies, you had me at hello.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Neck

Have you ever had an awesome day and then the next day you have what can only be called a day of unmitigated misery?  I'm not sure why it happens.  It's the same setting, same characters, basically the same plot.

Here's some irony.  I think my day was negatively affected by the wearing of my school spirit tee shirt.  I started the day cheering loudly in the halls, "I've got spirit, yes I DO!," And then after awhile, I started feeling that my school spirit tee was kind of tight around my neck. Then I started remembering that the last time I wore the school spirit tee, I had the same experience, thus adding to my exasperation with the whole situation. The school spirit tee almost felt like a noose around my neck by lunch time and by the time the buses drove off with all our cool students, I was pulling on the neck line with both hands while making kind of a shrieking noise.  I'm never wearing that shirt again.  If anyone wants it, just let me know.  However, let me suggest you not wear this shirt unless your neck is on the thin side.

Skinny necker, it's all yours.

It's kind of sad that I can't show my school spirit like everyone else because of my abnormally prodigious neck.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

I like these photographs of someone walking around with a mirror briefcase and you might too.  The photographer is Rui Calcado Bastos.

I'd like to stay in this hotel room that's also an art exhibit called Asleep in the Cyclone.  It's in Louisville, so this is doable.

We talked about these pink and blue photographs in class this week.  Kind of wild.  We're looking for places and times where people mix up a bit.  More on that later.

Thursday Creativity Share.  Fun stuff.  A cool briefcase, a hotel room that's based on Drop City, and a blue-pink photograph that's kind of neat, kind of tense.  And let's not forget this other photo of a butterfly on my shoulder.  It's all so incredible.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Writing

Photo credit:  Thirdlander

Today's Writer's Wednesday, so let's sharpen the pencils my friends.

Today I'm going to write about Greensboro Four and how they stayed at the diner counter and wouldn't move.  We read Freedom on the Menu yesterday.  I don't like people telling me what to do, so I really connect with these brave protesters.

We saw a movie on Monday night.  The movie people at the Ryder Film Series decided to shift our Sunday night movie ritual over to Mondays.  Guess what, Ryder Film Series People?  We'll just go to the movies on Monday.  We don't even care.  We do what we want.  The movie was Venus in Fur.  A weird little movie if ever there was one.  You should see it if you want.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Meeting

A Thirdlander brought in an article last week about pay discrepancies between men and women.  Indiana scores #46 in the country for equality for women.  The girls weren't too thrilled about that and wondered if we could somehow get over to Hawaii, a state with a lot less gender gap.  Later we were singing our Indiana Fight Song during a transition.  The last line goes, "Oh Indiana, we're all for you!"  As we sang the last note, a quiet Thirdlander muttered, "Not at #46 we're not."

Yesterday at morning meeting I asked the kiddos if they noticed any gender discrepancies in their own lives.  A long silence was finally broken by a kiddo saying, "When we were little, we all played soccer together. But now that we're 8, we are on separate teams. I guess the boys play harder than we do?"  I didn't make too comments as other gender reflections came bubbling up. Boys and girls do separate things.  Boys and girls play differently.  Boys are more active than girls.   This is something to keep talking, reading and writing about.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Coaster

Monday morning rears its head yet again.  Time to hop on the roller coaster with both eyes wide open.

Husbandman is home from France.  Yay Hooray. While in France, he ate some raw meat and he ate some stomach.  Now he's back to stir frying the veggies and tofu.

Brought #1 Son to the grocery store on Saturday night.  His main goal was to gather as much meat as he could.  Last night he came over for a bit.  He said he had eaten a pound of beef for dinner.

Basically, I'm surrounded by carnivores right now.  They're cute and caring in their normal lives, but where meat is concerned, they can be likened to aggressive predators.  Cold blooded killers. I hope I never get stranded on a snowy mountain peak with these 2 some day.  I'd be down to bones in no time.  Bones, people.  Bones.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Brick

I took the plunge and brought in the iPads on Friday afternoon.  Usually at the start of our local history unit, we go outside and draw pictures of what we think the land might have looked like before people were here.

Instead, we brought out the iPads to take photographs.  We talked about not taking pictures of our soccer field because there probably weren't mowed lawns before people arrived in the Hoosier state.  Thirdlanders focused on our beautiful creek, our tall trees, and the full clouds in the blue sky. They were pleased with their photos and I heard one gal staring into her iPad whispering, "I'm such a fantastic photographer."

 Things were going well when I heard a 3rdlander yell, "There's a dead snake over here!"  Of course we all hustled over and huddled around the snake for some photos. The corpse smelled fairly rancid.

A thirdlander said, "I'm trying to not take a picture of the brick because there wouldn't be bricks back then."
Then another kid said, "Do you think someone killed the snake with that brick?"
I tried so hard not to laugh and I think I did pretty well, but you know how these things get to me.  I said "Yes, it looks to me like someone killed this snake with that brick that's on its head."  We all stared at the murdered snake wondering why.  One kiddo pointed out that corn snakes aren't even venomous.  These thirdlanders are killing me.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Thursday Creativity Share

I should be leaving my house right now for a faculty meeting, but here's the thing.  I just read this book about Horace Pippin. He is an artist I now love dearly.  Check out Horace Pippin if you haven't already and if you feel like it.
Thursday Creativity Share - A book about Horace Pippin, and Horace Pippin himself.  A +.  Well done.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Voices

Voices In the Park, Anthony Browne
I'm working tonight on the introduction chapter.  I wonder if 3 pages is a long enough introduction?

Thirdlandia was all abustle today.  So many sweet moments.  So much cool work.

The only downside has to do with a wayward wasp that spent the day in the classroom.  Thirdlanders interrupted me repeatedly to tell me about the wasp. Probably 2 or 3 hundred times.  I kept saying the typical stuff.  Ignore the wasp.  The wasp isn't hurting you.  Whole 9 yards.

I kept seeing kids hovering around the wasp.  I saw some thwacking with pencils and assorted sundry other gestures of unkindness toward the wasp throughout the day.  Dozens of times.

About ten minutes before the end of the day, I noticed the wasp kind of limping around with everyone standing around it.  I couldn't take it anymore.  "Kill the wasp," I said.  A delighted Thirdlander jumped on that wasp like there was no tomorrow.

I still feel kind of bad about the wasp.  He didn't belong in the classroom, but I'm not sure he deserved to die.  Better luck next go round, Wasp.  I'm sure you did your best.  Now it's time to forget the rest.

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Saint

Woke up with a freaking stiff neck this morning, which just about put me over the edge.  Why am I having so many stupid problems?  Doesn't the universe realize I just want to live and let live?

So the first thing I did was write to my mom and ask her if there might be a patron saint of stiff necks that I can invoke today.  She wrote back that St. Blaise, patron of sore throats, is probably the nearest go to guy. I read about St. Blaise for a bit and was saddened to hear that he was beaten with hot combs before his beheading.  I was working up a little ritual in honor of the Blaiser, but then I got to thinking.  Instead of finishing off the writing sitting in front of me, I could be using google to track down the right saint for the right body part.  And come to find out, I stumble upon Saint Ursicinus.  He lived around 610. Born in Ireland.  He was a hermit.  Then he went to Switzerland. That's all we've got, but really how much do we need? He's all about the stiff neck.

Oh Saint Ursicinus, think of me today as I sit here writing with a hideous stiff neck.  Bring healing relief to my neck, especially the right side, if you feel like it.  In the name of all that is kind and good.  Amen.  

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...